Starring John Cusack and Rob Corddry. Rated 18A.
The basic idea for Hot Tub Time Machine is so dumb, so reductive, so limited in its possibilities, that it just has to be good, doesn’t it?
Here, three pals escape their disappointing, middle-aged lives by revisiting the site of their youthful success. That was then, but now the old ski village—once full of booze and babes—is so broken-down there isn’t any hot water to get into.
Clearly, we’re looking at this year’s The Hangover, so the friends are nothing alike. Riffing on his own ’80s-teen beginnings, John Cusack (who also produced) is the once-promising Adam, now a dull and recently dumped insurance salesman. Deadpan Craig Robinson plays Nick, happily married but fat and bummed about his failed music career. And The Daily Show’s erstwhile Rob Corddry is Lou, as in Loser! He’s the creep who keeps dragging his posse to new depths of post-Apatow humour. Yes, folks, there will be projectile vomiting.
When our boys, plus Adam’s supernerdy nephew (Sex Drive’s funny Clark Duke) finally find a working tub, they’re magically transported back to 1986, and forced to relive a night that wasn’t as great as they remember. Well, it does include odd cameos from Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover, and a winsome turn from relative newcomer Lizzy Caplan.
Because our time travellers are shortsighted pleasure seekers—except for the kid, who can’t believe there was life before Google—why would they feel compelled to protect the future by reenacting such a tiny slice of history? Anyway, that’s the problem handed them by director Steve Pink and three writers, and word up! if it doesn’t trigger a pleasing pop-culture parade, many gross-out jokes, and a star-making turn for Corddry, who dizzily F bombs his way into the comedy big leagues.