Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

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The Pitch: Two lovers are caught across a divide in eighteenth century feudal Japan, and… NO! IT’S A HOT! TUB! TIME! MACHINE! Seriously, what are you not getting from that title?

The Review: This is a sign of how old I’m getting. One of my all time favourite movies went back in time 30 years from 1985, which was just the past by the time I saw it on video in 1986. Now we’re going back in time nearly 25 years to 1986! But what could be cooler to travel in time in than a Delorean? Well, nothing as it turns out, so let’s just go with a hot tub. And why not?

So what we have is a combination of a Back To The Future-style nostalgia fest, a Hangover-style buddy adversity comedy, and an American Pie (the first, good one) level of humour. Until we get in the tub, the jokes don’t quite come thick and fast, but it’s obvious from the get-go that these are four actors who are having a great time riffing off each other (especially the Cincinnati mystery) and, despite not being able to imagine them together before the movie, they generally have an easy chemistry and are believable as four young friends who have drifted apart a bit.

Cusack brings the warmth when it comes and the most rounded character, although still a jerk in the present by his own admission. Corddry brings most of the lower level humour but gets a lot of the best material in the process, with the rest belonging to Robinson, who gets into all kind of situations thanks to his inability to distinguish between time periods. So it’s left to Duke to anchor the group, and make sure they have a reason to get home. Sadly, the rest of the cast make little impression, especially a wasted Chevy Chase.

There are a couple of good running gags, mainly about Duke’s character and a well-worked series of set pieces on Christian Glover’s arm, and generally the whole enterprise captures a relaxed tone with plenty of reasonable laughs and leaving a generally satisfied feeling at the end. Not one you’ll be coming back to in 25 years, but good for a few laughs in the present.

Why see it at the cinema: Comedies work better in a large crowd, especially with the anticipation of some of the running set-ups here.

The Score: 7/10

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One thought on “Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

    […] laughter during the screening than at any other comedy I’ve seen this year. (Yes, even than Hot Tub Time Machine.) As long as movies like this exist, there must be places where like minded people can gather and […]

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