The Heap Reviews: Hot Tub Time Machine

Ah, the concept of time travel. We’ve seen this idea done in so many ways by so many different characters. We’ve seen it in books, TV shows, movies, and even music (I’m looking at you, Cher). H.G. Wells made the concept “mainstream” and well, it is here to stay. We’ve seen time machines in the form of abstract mechanical creations, port-o-potties, and a Delorean. It’s easy to say that we as an audience have always had some sort of magical intrigue with the concept of time control and the possibility to change one’s destiny by altering events.

Hot Tub Time Machine is exactly as advertised- a hot tub endeared with the power (thanks to a Russian energy drink) to create a time travel vortex. It also follows the established plot of most of these movies – go back/forward in time, go on a “life changing” adventure to learn a lesson, and come back an improved person. What sets it apart is how it follows these traditional rules of the “genre,” by offering an crass, yet smartly hilarious (and actually, kind of satirical) interpretation of the time travel story.

John Cusack, Craig Robinson (Darryl from The Office) and Rob Corddry (smaller roles in other notable comedies), when first thought about together, may come across as a rather odd combination for not just a comedy, but a movie in general. You certainly feel this way at the beginning of the movie, where I found myself wondering, “hmm, how is this going to work?” But alas, they mesh together as the movie goes on into quite the cohesive, capable comedic team. (Let’s be honest, think about your group of friends… yeah, sometimes you TOO wonder how/why you’re friends at all, and how such different and weird individuals can come together as a group!)

Coming together to overcome the tepidity of Middle Age as well as overall reconciliation are the prevalent themes. And of course, you have to sprinkle in some destiny/ changing the present with choices in the past issues as well. It was very comical to see the older characters come back to their heyday and attempt to literally relive their finest (and in some cases, not so fine) moments, since they satirically believe in the “butterfly effect” theory, believing that any difference in their actions may drastically change the course of history. The conclusion is actually a bit of a welcomed curve ball, deviating from the usual “my life is forever changed because of this trippy experience” ending.

"What color is Michael Jackson?" "Uh, Black!"

Overall, Hot Tub Time Machine is entertaining, raunchy, and very funny. Unfortunately, it just isn’t as memorable as other comedies in the past few years. As I mentioned, it offers a smart, satirical telling of a time travel story, and it will deliver laughs and moments of incredulous bewilderment. Definitely a guy movie, but can be enjoyable for most. If you’ve had a long week and just need to sit back and have a laugh or two, I can recommend it.

The Heap awards: 7.5/10 Bags

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

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