US audiences were privy to this back in March, so now it’s our turn to catch up on MGM’s latest offering! Director and long-standing production and writing collaborator to John Cusack (Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity), Steve Pink delivers an unforgettable journey of retro mayhem and light-hearted, feel-good fun. Written by Josh Heald, Sean Anders and John Morris, this is the perfect must-see adventure flick in the run up to summer.
The amusing, self-explanatory title literally is about a time travelling hot tub! Come on… it’s a charming title, admit it. Once all pre-conceptions about logic and physics have been abandoned, you’ll be in for a real treat as you sit back and embrace this space-time continuum delight!
The story revolves around forty-somethings Adam (John Cusack) Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) as Adam’s geeky nephew. Desperate to break free from their humdrum middle-aged lives, these estranged three amigos (and nephew) decide to hit the road to shake off the blues and relive some of their glory days by revisiting a ski lodge for some much-needed partying. Met with über-disappointment on arrival, the ski resort’s shabby and run-down appearance spurs the guys to make the most of their weekend to let loose, live it up and kick back to their youth.
Cut to the questionable looking hot tub that’s seen better days in their former hotel room. Without wanting to give too much away about how this hot tub actually manages to transform itself into the whirlpool equivalent of the Delorean, it’s quite a bizarre, trippy spectacle to behold and is best kept as a surprise, but do be sure to keep an eye out for that reoccurring bear… Once in the tub, it’s 2010, but when they come out, it’s 1986!
Unbelievably outrageous? Yes, but Bill & Ted got away with it in their time travelling phone booth so just sit back and enjoy the ride as we immerse ourselves in this magical, nonsensical, swirly goodness!
At this point the movie really picks up some much-needed speed. After the guys come to the realisation that they’re back in 1986, they’re in for an even bigger surprise when they see the mirrored reflections of themselves. To everyone else they look like the teenagers they used to be, Jacob aside, and this scene really is one of the funniest throughout the movie. With Jacob faced with Doc Brown’s infamous theory of being erased from existence (whenever a time-traveller alters key events occurring in the past) the guys make it their mission to honour the rules of time travel to find a way back to their future in 2010… or do they? The longer they stay, the greater the danger that Jacob will cease to exist as he flickers in and out of view. Sound familiar? Great Scott!
There are so many funny moments during this film. The humour is very crude, but also cleverly dry and ironic in places, so fans will appreciate many of the 80s pop culture references here. Not to mention the fact that Poison and Motley Crue feature heavily on the soundtrack, along with countless nods to some of the most popular scenes from films born out of the 80s. Despite the slow start, cheap thrills, gratuitous nudity, low-brow humour and wasted opportunities to add more depth to some of it’s core characters, Pink successfully manages to capture the essence of cult 80s comedies which prevail to this day. Those unfamiliar or disinterested in this decade shouldn’t be too disheartened or disappointed – there’s an abundance of over-the-top action and criss-crossing shenanigans to keep you entertained.
There are some notable appearances worth mentioning too. Namely, the legendary Chevy Chase who delightfully portrays the role of the mysterious and often ambiguous keeper/repairman of the magical hot tub. This is a real treat for Chase fans but it doesn’t feel like he gets enough screen time, sadly. It’s still, however, a pleasure to see him on the big screen again and listening to his character’s random, nonsensical musings regarding the power of the hot tub is really quite brilliant.
Then there’s the one-armed, then two-armed bellhop played by 80s favourite Crispin Glover. Glover’s performance is actually pretty hilarious – a real treat for his long-time Back to the Future fans. The ongoing “how does he lose his other arm” plot is quite gripping…. But there shall be no spoilers posted here as to how, when and where he loses that second arm! Lastly, a pesky Caddyshack-esque squirrel becomes a fixture in this flick and keeps popping up throughout. Somewhat reminiscent of Scrat in Ice-Age but harmless fun nonetheless.
With solid performances all-round, one actor stands out and really steals the show. Rob Corddry truly is the star of this film and nails every scene he’s in. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to not be charmed by his vulgarity! The chemistry on-set is flawless and gives you a real sense that the guys were having as much fun filming this shameless, Porky’s style adventure as they were starring in it. It’s also really nice to see John Cusack pay homage to an era he is so often fondly remembered for.
Hot Tub Time Machine is a fantastic 1980s throwback comedy. It’s a feel-good, laugh-out-loud a minute nostalgic journey of awesomeness and leaves you wanting more. With punchy dialogue, hilariously crude humour, a rockin’ soundtrack and blinding wardrobe to boot, audiences can expect to be in for a whirl of a ride. Never has a blast from the past been so much fun getting itself back to the future.
And before we forget, just how many times did you see THAT bear during the film…?
Hot Tub Time Machine is out on general release on 7th May.
You can check out our recent Podcast which features a segment on HTTM with Jon Lyus, Andy Petrou and /Film’s Brendon Connelly.