Time: 101 mins.
SYNOPSIS: Four guy friends, all of them bored with their adult lives, travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub.
BOTTOM LINE: Having grown up in the 80s watching John Cusack movies I just couldn't resist this throwback comedy. As you can probably guess from the title, there isn't much of a plot and that what there is of one will be outrageous and fairly juvenile. You'd be right, but this movie also has some geniune moments of regret, true friendship and utter hilarity – mostly due to the no-holds barred performance of Rob Corddry, as the friend Cusack and Robinson have outgrown (and no longer like), but need to take along on their trip down memory lane because he was there the first time around. While there are plenty of "living in the 80s" jokes youngsters will definitely not get, the plot doesn't rely on them for the bulk of its humor, which is a good thing. This is a plain and simple buddy comedy that focuses on the age old question – if I had the chance to do it all over again, would I change anything?
Cusack's hangdog looks (and acting history) serve him well here. He's the unlucky loser in love yet again, just much, much older this time around. Well, sort of. He gets to return to the pivotal moment where he breaks up with the woman of his high school dreams, only with the perspective of his older self. Unlike his friends, he claims he's happy with how his life turned out and tries not to change anything. His buddies are not on the same page and try to take advantage of this cosmic do-over, but they don't exactly get the answers they're looking for either. Sebastian Stan plays Cusack's nerdy nephew who's dragged back into a time where he doesn't exist and is uncapable of understanding. The fact that he was conceived on their original trip makes his time in the past even more uncomfortable. If he mother doesn't get laid, he disappears, (nice reference to Back to the Future here), but watching her as a drunken slut is almost more than he can bear.
It goes without saying that craziness ensues and that they all learn a valuable lesson about their friendship and their lives. Plus that when they return to the future everything is at it should be...so to speak. There's nothing new or inventive about this movie, but I couldn't help liking it. The continuing sight gag with another 80s stalwart Crispin Glover was brilliant touch that doesn't really add to the plot, but is clever and funny nonetheless. While the film has some nudity and language, it has a more innocent spirit than many of the buddy comedies of the last decade that seem hell bent on being as crass, stupid and offensive as possible without any care for character or heart. I'm not looking for deep life lessons with my male-bonding, but I need more than swearing, semem and sluts to tickle my funnybone. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is an old-school comedy that made me laugh and didn't make me feel dirty for doing it.