Director: Steve Pink
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke
I grade comedies a little harsher than most movies, mainly because I get tired of seeing all of the same things over and over again. If comedy films are guilty of anything, out of all other genres, it is repetition. ‘Hot Tube Time Machine’ offers familiar themes, just with different outcomes. Most of the film’s uniqueness is found in the story and how the characters interact with each other, bringing everything together with jokes of different styles and varieties.
The film starts with three friends wanting to relive their teen years at their favorite vacation spot. They eventually get really drunk and get sent back in time, thanks to (you guessed it) a hot tub time machine, to literally relive their teen years. This is a somewhat standard plot device for many self-discovery movies, but it takes an exceedingly silly approach to it all. Thankfully, it takes unexpected turns throughout the whole film in order to avoid those tired clichés we fear the most.
Everything stays at a steady pace all the way through the film and spaces out the jokes evenly, so there will been enough room for character development, or story, and then a joke or two. So many comedies, on both television and the big screen, are guilty of that kind of thing. Jumping between surrealist subjects to realistic ones, without notice and at break neck pace, often frustrates people. For me, I sometimes have to watch episodes of such programmes twice to catch all of the story or jokes. This style of comedy has held a presence in the comedy genre for some time, and it has shoved comedy from being a well-crafted art to treating the audience like they are a bunch of children. Yes it keeps people laughing, like a Wayans Brothers’ spoof, but it sometimes lacks merit, seeing as most of these ‘comedies’ eventually resort to the shock factor or very crude sexual humor.
The variety of humour in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ seems to show through with each character. Lou (Rob Corddry) for instance, presents himself as the crassest one there, from mannerisms to jokes, and then it is later revealed why he’s that way. So all of his actions helped move the story along, and develop the characters around him. After that it takes a slightly less obtuse approach to the way he delivers things. There’s even a few times in the movie where Adam (John Cusack) develops in such a way that it helped set the scenes later in the movie for better outcomes, despite what they had remembered of their previous adventures.
The thing I love most about this movie is that the punchlines never end. All the characters play off one another rather well, and are well rounded comedy actors. All of them torment each other like any other group of guys would, making the movie feel natural (except the whole going back in time thing). ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ embodies the themes of 80s comedies without playing to the clichés and over-used jokes. This is a well rounded movie with different flavours of humor all around, while being underpinned by a good story. It’s a good laugh for anyone who wants that nostalgic feel of the 80s and a touch of mindless entertainment.