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Directed by Steve Pink (Gross Pointe Blank) the premise for Hot Tub Time Machine is a fairly simple one and standard fair for movies in the 'time travel' genre. You're present day life is a bag of dicks and you're given a second chance by going back in time to relive your glory days at a pivotal moment in your history. Do you tempt fate and change history as we know it do you leave well enough alone knowing that anything you do in the past could have a 'butterfly effect' in the future? Anyone who's gone down the time travel path understands it's rules and what can happen if you screw with the space-time continuum. Let's all be honest though - if you're life sucked balls as bad as the dudes in this flick, you would thumb your nose up at the consequences and screw the time stream like a drunken snow bunny - big 80's hair and all!
The story itself centers around three friends who's lives have not turned out the way they had planned (who's does?). John Cusack (Sixteen Candles, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity) plays Adam, the 40 something leader of the gang who's in the middle of yet another relationship explode in his face. Craig Robinson (The Office, Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) plays Nick, the once singer of the gang who now works at a 'Pet Smart' clone fingering our four legged friends for minimum wage with the knowledge that his wife is cheating on him behind his back. Rob Corddry (Blades of Glory, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) steals the show as Lou, or as his friends have dubbed him, 'The Violator' - the aging, self-destructive, balding, head banger of the group who is desperately clinging to his 'rock-on' roots. Rounding out the group is Adam's nephew Jacob, often times the voice of reason played by Clark Duke (Kick-Ass, Sex Drive, Superbad) - the nerd you want in your crew for a time traveling trip as he knows all the ins and outs of time travel lore. After a brief setup of how each character's life has gone tits up, the crew decide to go away for the weekend at a once popular ski resort to try and relive one of the best times of their lives. Upon their arrival at the now forgotten lodge and greeted by an incredibly sketchy, one-armed bell hop ingeniously played by Back to the Future icon Crispen Glover (Alice in Wonderland, Beowulf, Willard) the gang decides to drown their sorrows in magical tub which propels them to the era of Reaganomics, MTV, Atari 2600, and day-glow Spandex.
Now in the past, each member who existed in the 80's has been placed back in the bodies of their younger selves ala Quantum Leap (with the exception of Jacob who hasn't been born yet, but still somehow exists in this time period, although he's fading fast). From the second you see Craig Robinson's younger self sporting his 'Kid n' Play' flat top, to 'the Violator's Poison-inspired feathered hair you can't stop laughing (the only character that could have been a bit more authentic was the guy they used for Cusack's younger self - especially since we all know what he looked like at that age being an 80's icon himself). The neon Spandex, the Flock of Seagulls hair, the valley girl lingo, and the hair-band music - everything in this movie is 80's and it makes no apologies for it or the lore it takes from other time travel movies you may have seen before.
Everything you would expect to see in any time travel movie is here - old loves lost, old enemies revisited, finding out your mom was a drunken slut - it's all here and all done in a clever way that never misses a beat. You really can't help but root for every cast member as they struggle with whether or not they should change their lives for the better, or as in Jacob's case, ensure your own existence in the future ala Marty McFly. Even Chevy Chase makes a cameo appearance as the cryptic if somewhat crazed hot tub repairman who becomes the only hope for the loveable gang of losers and their quest to get back to the year 2010.
This Movie Has EVERYTHING!
Come on... given that this is a time travel movie set in the 80's it HAD to have EVERYTHING! Big music! Big hair! Bigger boobs! It has fist fights! Twirling chainsaws (that's right - I said twirling chainsaws)! It's got wormholes through time and space...oooooohhhh...! This movie has EVERYTHING! It's got Chevy Chase! That's right - Fletch with a toolbelt! It's got drunken valley girls! Did I mention the big boobies?! It's even got crazy Crispen Glover (I'm your density...) - with and without arm! It has attempted suicide! It's even got a black man sticking his finger up a dogs ass!!! MMM...mmm... This movie has EVERYTHING!!!
The Final WORD
What's not to love about Hot Tub Time Machine. It's got lots of laughs, great music of the era, some of the most famous 80's icons showing us that they still got the chops to do what they do best, and nods to the great time travel movies of the last 20 years. In a word, this movie had EVERYTHING!
Movies That Have EVERYTING Rating: 9