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Hot Tub Time Machine - Review

Hot Tub Time Machine

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BILLED as The Hangover meets Back To The Future, bro-mance comedy Hot Tub Time Machine is a fun night out at the movies for the Friday night popcorn lovers.

Admittedly crass and hopelessly cheesy in places, the film still rises above its ludicrous premise by embracing its own stupidity and playing to the strengths of its engaging cast.

When one of their number attempts to commit suicide, three childhood buddies – John Cusack’s Adam, Rob Corddry’s Lou and Craig Robinson’s Nick – retreat to the party town of their youth with Adam’s nephew (Clark Duke) in tow.

After a drunken night in a hot tub, however, they find themselves transported back to 1986 and faced with a second chance.

Hot Tub Time Machine is born out of America’s indefatiguable love for the ’80s and, as such, contains some astute nods to the ridiculous fashion trends and music of that time.

What’s more, it has ’80s icon Cusack revisiting the type of scenarios that made him famous in the first places, in movies such as The Sure Thing.

But it does so with a more adult spin, making sure the jokes really are rude and the male bravado as laddish, loutish and downright boorish as the 15 certificate will allow.

In doing so, it enables its performers to really cut loose… delivering glib one-liners with relish, while finding themselves at the centre of some truly outrageous scenarios (the type of which the Farrelly brothers would be proud to call their own!).

Occasionally, this untempered enthusiasm threatens to run amok, with Corddry in particular testing audience sympathy and patience, but in the main it helps to ensure that Hot Tub Time Machine remains on course.

Cusack is as laidback and cool as ever, while providing the main romantic sub-plot, and Robinson delivers some brilliant deadpan looks and one-liners to match the hopelessness of his situation.

Glib youngster Duke, meanwhile, continunes to build upon the impressive reputation he’s been nurturing since Sex Drive and, most recently, Kick-Ass.

There’s spirited support, too, from Crispin Glover, as a bellhop who is destined to lose his arm, and Chevy Chase, as an eccentric scientist, as well as several of the ladies who come the men’s way.

Co-writer and director Steve Pink also loads proceedings with plenty of savvy pop culture references, movie in-jokes and smart asides to keep the journey bubbling along.

It’s worth noting, too, that Pink’s previous collaborations with Cusack have resulted in Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity… both out and out classics in their own right.

Hot Tub may struggle to reach those highs, but it’s a fun ride nonetheless and one that’s sure to leave you with a big sloppy smile afterwards.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 100mins
UK Release Date: May 7, 2010