Although their present isn’t too glamorous and their future is not looking so bright, Nick, Adam and Lou have quite the past. Over the last 25 years, the three of them have become estranged. Nick (Craig Robinson, The Office) works at a yuppie dog-grooming store and recently caught his bossy wife cheating on him. Adam (John Cusack, 2012) was recently dumped by his latest girlfriend, stuck living in an empty house with his cyber geek nephew Jacob (Clark Duke, Sex Drive). And Lou (Rob Corddry, Semi-Pro) is a loser stuck working sham jobs, dealing with his dead-end life by constantly being drunk and partying alone.
After Lou has a drunken accident that doctors believe to be a failed suicide attempt, Nick and Adam come to the rescue. Their plan to help Lou rise up from his supposed depression involves their most nostalgic vacation spot from their youth, a whole lot of alcohol and some good old male bonding time in a hot tub. That just so happens to be a time machine. Accompanied by Jacob, the three best friends are about to take an unexpected trip down 1986’s memory lane.
In Hot Tub Time Machine, just like any time travel film, there are very important “scientific rules” that the time travelers must abide by, the most important involving “The Butterfly Effect.” Anything that the guys do – with the exception of Jacob, because he wasn’t born yet – has to be done in the exact manner in which they did it in their youth. Lou must get his butt kicked by a group of Red Dawn-loving ski patrol show offs, Adam must dump his “Great White Buffalo” (a.k.a., “The One That Got Away) and Nick must perform at a concert even though he knows he’s going to be booed off stage. Straying in the slightest from what they actually did in 1986 could result in a catastrophic disaster that completely changes the future.
The Back To The Future trilogy played with the idea of one not being able to be seen by one’s “other” self. Here, that’s thrown out the window entirely. Whenever the guys see themselves in the mirror, they are their 1986 selves (except for Jacob, he looks the same because he doesn’t yet exist). There are not two different versions of them walking around. They are truly reliving their past.
Even as much as Hot Tub Time Machine takes the science fiction theory seriously, it never takes itself that serious. To put it simply, it is one stupid-yet-completely-entertaining movie. Balancing out the stupid humor is a good amount of intelligent humor. When some scenes go over the top, they’re harmonized with genuine heart-felt ones. The blend works very well.
But know that Hot Tub Time Machine is not for everyone. It contains some extremely “adult” humor. Often times it feels like a mix of Farrley Brothers movie (Dumb And Dumber, There’s Something About Mary), a Cusack/Pink film (High Fidelity, Grosse Point Blank) and an Apatow movie (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up). While not suitable for everyone, it definitely has its audience. And if Hot Tub Time Machine sounds remotely entertaining to you, then don’t miss it.
Photo credit: MGM/United Artists