Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Hot Tub Time Machine" is the Best Thing to Happen to 1986 Since "Alf"

Behold, the resplendent power of the hot tub. Skating a delicate line between liquor and Rohypnol as the greatest inhibition dropper of all time, the only thing better than a hot tub might be a "Hot Tub Time Machine."

Surprisingly funny and charming in its stupidity, "Hot Tub Time Machine" follows a group of best friends who have let their lives pass them by. Adam (John Cusack) is a recently-dumped insurance salesman, Lou (Rob Corddry) only has his Trans-Am and Motley Crue tapes to keep him warm, and Nick (Craig Robinson) has given up his dream of musical fame to work at the Beverly Hills Doggie Day Spa, 'Sup Dawg. But on a weekend trip to the ski resort that hosted their former 1986 glory days, the three friends and Adam's video game-obsessed nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), have a night of hot tubbin' and drinking that lands them two decades in the past with a chance to change their past and future.

A throwback to both the body-swapping and sex-fueled romps of the 80s, Cusack, who also serves as the film's producer, will give anyone who ever played Atari a thrill reviving the beloved trench coat-wearing, dorky misfit roles that launched his career. Robinson is hilarious as an overly emotional cuckolded husband and Duke shines as the film's voice of reason, while Corddry occasionally pushes his role past funny, into obnoxious and grating. And then, there's Crispin Glover. We don't want to ruin it for you but, suffice it to say, Glover is a highly undervalued comic genius whose casting and nostalgic currency are pitch perfect.

With a killer soundtrack, brilliant costume design and fantastic cast chemistry, it's a shame the film leans on gross out stunts and lame homophobic humor for one too many laughs. But, despite its shortcomings, you can't help but be won over by the film's raunchy, ridiculous humor and strong performances.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" opens March 26.

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