“Hot Tub Time Machine” bubbles with only the harmless ridiculousness and humor that its title suggests.
Before seeing “Hot Tub Time Machine,” directed by Steve Pink, whose only other film has been the largely-panned comedy, “Accepted,” it’s apparent from the title that Pink’s newest film is largely a parody on time traveling movies; specifically, time traveling movies from the 80s.
“HTTM” follows a group of four friends as they travel back in time after a night of partying in a hotel hot tub. When they realize it’s 1986, friends Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) attempt to change the past in order to have a more fulfilling future. Meanwhile Jacob (Clark Duke) spends the majority of the movie ensuring that his future mother, Kelley (Collette Wolfe) gets laid in order for Jacob to exist in the future.
Pink and the actors in “HTTM” stick true to such an absurd premise, a surprisingly refreshing and self-aware comedy that seems to poke fun at itself even when it doesn’t mean to.
While laughter can be found in the way Nick looks directly at the camera when asserting they’ve traveled back in time through a hot tub, deliberately breaking the fourth wall, there are occasional scenes which prove to be more of an annoyance than genuine comedy.
The character Adam, for instance, fumbles through the movie in an on-again off-again almost-romance with April (Lizzy Caplan), who plays an indie journalist touring with the then-popular band, Poison. John Cusack, playing an awkward hipster, is going after an intelligent, adorable indie girl? While it’s safe to say these scenes are an ode to the many 80s movies Cusack has starred in, a lack of comedy between the two characters makes Cusack and Caplan stale to watch.
Robinson and Corddry steal the show, their raunchy dialogue and actions always at the forefront of genuine laughs, constantly reminding the audience why “HTTM” is rated R.
Crispin Glover, who plays a one-armed bellhop in the present, but a fully-limbed bellhop in 1986 is a treat to watch as he finds himself in situations where he miraculously saves his arm from impending doom.
The laughs are often cheap, and the premise is downright absurd, but “HTTM” manages to pull it off — albeit barely — by recognizing just how ridiculous the plot and characters actually are.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Sebastian Murdock at Sebastian.firstname.lastname@example.org.