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  • 15
  • Comedy
  • 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

Film4 Hot Tub Time Machine


Three buddies plus one of their sons get transported back in time to the '80s by the unexplained powers of a magical hot tub

Critic's Review

What is John Cusack doing in this so-called comedy? For the rest of our four leads, this film makes sense. The other three are a TV actor taking the step up to film (Craig Robinson), a supporting actor taking the step up to lead (Clark Duke), and some guy from The Daily Show taking the step up to that guy who was pretty annoying in a film about a hot tub that was also a time machine (Rob Corddry). But for John Cusack to appear in a lacklustre tale that relies mainly on good will towards the 1980s, the decade when he was appearing in films by Rob Reiner, Cameron Crowe and John Hughes at the peak of their powers, is somehow far worse than John Cusack appearing in throughly modern disasters like Roland Emmerich's 2012. We remember the way it used to be, John.

As far as storylines go, this is just stupid and pointless enough to be an instant classic. Three guys, plus one tag-along, get drunk in a hot tub at the ski resort they frequented during their carefree youth, and when they wake up the next morning they've travelled back in time to the period about which they were so recently indulging in a hot, soapy, nostalgia-soak. Sold. It's daft, but there should be some nice jokes there, right? Problem is, the script then forgets to do anything so esoteric as provide us with characters we could give a rat's ass about, or indeed jokes that revolve around anything more challenging than the idea that maybe your mum could have been - tee hee - a bit promiscuous back in the day. The vacuous hussy!

It's hard to see who this film is aimed at. If you actually remember the '80s, you're too old for this shit. And if you're a young person who's really this desperate to see a bit of nipple and chuckle over the odd dick joke, well, 'Nuts' and 'Zoo' magazine are a good deal cheaper than a cinema ticket, even on a 2-for-1 night. There's a couple of laughs to be had, to be sure, but when you stumble out into the cold hard light of day, you're likely to be left feeling just a little bit cheap for cracking a smile over something that feels even older than the decade that brought us legwarmers, preppy bullies and Ronald Reagan as US president. This is strictly one for that guy in your office who thinks his Cheech & Chong t-shirt marks him as dangerously iconoclastic.

In a nutshell: If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the best bits. If only this film were as good as the Family Guy episode 'Meet The Quagmires', which manages to complete a similar Back To The Future rip in less than half the time with roughly twice as many laughs.

By Catherine Bray

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry
  • Director: Steve Pink
  • Screen Writer: Sean Anders, John Morris
  • Producer: Grace Loh, John Morris, John Cusack
  • Photographer: Jack N Green
  • Composer: Christophe Beck

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