Wednesday, 21 April 2010


2Oth Century Fox
Now Showing

When a film bears a title such as Hot Tub Time Machine, it will either live up (or down) to expectations or defy them completely. Positive reviews from Roger Ebert and The New York Times had me expecting an above average boy's own comedy – a barrage of blue language and genitalia jokes from a group of men suspended in adolescence – and on that level, expectations were met.

The presence of John Cusack also inspired confidence. He lends credibility to any situation (see last year's 2012 where he outruns an earthquake in a stretch limo), a valuable asset in a film which is about exactly what it's called.

Cusack plays Adam, one of three estranged friends approaching midlife and more than a little disillusioned with their lots in life. Adam's girlfriend has just left him; Nick (Craig Robinson) is married, has taken his wife's surname and works in a dog grooming parlour; and Lou, also known as Violater (Rob Corddry), is an alcoholic who may or may not have just attempted suicide – and not for the first time.

This event reunites the trio and inspires a weekend trip to the mountain ski resort where they experienced some of the best times of their youth. Adam also brings along his geeky nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), who is living in his uncle's basement due to a falling out with his mother.

But the ski lodge is not in the party state they remember but a truckload of alcohol and a dip in the titular spa soon drowns any sorrows. Of course, when they waken from their drunken revelry, their lives are just as miserable. They're also in 1986.

Cue a cavalcade of mid '80s pop culture references, and some pointed shots at the present day, as the guys deduce that they have to do exactly as they did on this night the first time round so as not to effect the time-space continuum, causing a butterfly effect that would result in the internet not being invented or Hitler becoming president!

The humour is fairly blue (and possibly misogynistic and homophobic if you're highly sensitive), with most of it emanating from the motormouth of Corddry who steals every scene. It's not in the same league as The Hangover (2009), last year's breakout hit also about a drunken weekend with a group of manchilds, but there's fun to be had if you embrace this high concept film on the level intended.

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