Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

Sometimes a movie gives you exactly what the title promises. "Dumb and Dumber." "Snakes on a Plane." "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford." "Hot Tub Time Machine" is such a movie.
The thing about a movie called "Hot Tub Time Machine" is that I'm not expecting it to set up hard and fast rules for time travel and to stick to them. I'm not expecting complex character development or revelations that make you think about your mortality, the human condition, or why Hitler was a very very bad man. All I really want is for it to be funny. But is it?
Adam (John Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson, "The Office") have lost touch over the years but find themselves brought back together by their old friend Nick's (Rob Corddry) near fatal accident. Really Nick's not a friend so much as "he's an a--hole, but he's our a--hole," as Adam explains.
In an attempt to relive the good times they had more than 20 years earlier the three decide to spend a weekend in Kodiak Valley skiing and getting incredibly drunk. Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), who wasn't quite born the last time they went to Kodiak Valley comes along for the ride.
Upon arriving at the old ski lodge they find that it's not the happening place it had once been. Frequented now by senior citizens and with a cranky one-armed bellman on staff (Crispin Glover, ya know, George McFly), it's a bit of a hellhole. Determined to enjoy themselves anyway the three old friends and Jacob proceed to drink heavily in their room's hot tub and when they awake they find something's not quite right. Yes, they have gone back in time to 1986. When the guys realize what's happened and that their younger selves were there on that very weekend they determine that they must do everything the exact same way they did the first time around, fearing the so called "butterfly effect." Of course that doesn't work out as well as they'd planned.
There are definitely more aggressively unfunny comedies out there but really the funniest thing about "Hot Tub Time Machine" is its title. There are a few chuckles here and there, many of them thanks to Glover in a role that just seems to fit him so perfectly, but in the end this movie just isn't that funny. Cusack and Robinson are fine but don't really have a whole lot to do. I liked Corddry during his days on "The Daily Show" about six or seven years ago (around the time I quit watching it with any regularity), but I've just never really liked him in movies, even movies I've liked otherwise. Nick is just another variation on the obnoxious, unlikeable character he always plays and it never has been funny. Of the four leads Duke comes off the best. I liked that the guy in his early twenties was the voice of reason for the guys in their early forties. Very reasonably his character's only real concern is making sure that he still ends up being born.
"Hot Tub Time Machine" is stupid yes, but that's not the problem. It could have been the right kind of stupid and it almost is. But it just never gave me a really hearty laugh. It's as simple as that. 5/10.


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