If you’re expecting clever science and intriguing plot twists from Hot Tub Time Machine then you should do two things: first, re-read the title of this movie, and second, watch the trailer. You’ll soon see that this is a big, dumb comedy with nothing to say about the space-time continuum that you couldn’t pick up from an episode of Doctor Who.
80s teen idol John Cusack plays Adam, a grumpy insurance agent who, along with family man Nick (Craig Robinson), must come to his childhood friend Lou’s rescue after a failed suicide attempt. They rope Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam’s socially awkward nephew, into coming on a trip to the ski-resort they spent their youth in, hoping to cheer Lou up.
The resort is now a rundown hole and the guys seek drunken solace in their hot tub which ends up pulling them back to 1986. In an effort to change their bleak future lives, they set about righting wrongs whilst trying to make sure that Jacob still gets born. Except Lou, who instead is trying to have sex with everything that isn’t nailed down.
To be honest, Cusack looks a little tired here, his romance with Mean Girls’ Lizzy Caplan feels forced and, as awesome as Caplan is, she’s wasted as a simplistic love interest with some cheesy dialogue.
Stealing the show away from Cusack entirely are Robinson, Duke and Rob Corddry as Lou. They get the lion’s share of the punch lines, the bigger gags and their drug-fuelled energy takes over the screen. Their wild teen antics include scoffing magic mushrooms, having sex in bath tubs, getting into fights and attempting not one, but two-man threeways. Ah, to be young.
There is of course the inevitable nod to Back To The Future, the time travel movie standard, which Crispin Glover’s appearance as the bell-hop who may or may not lose an arm over the course of the movie.
Much like Ronseal, this movie does exactly what it says on the title and doesn’t really try to better itself – but mostly works to its advantage. HTTM a mix of teen comedy, time travelling fun, 80s romance and gross-out humour and for 80% of the film it works. Despite the lazily written, unsatisfying ending, you’ll be glad you saw this movie. It’s no Back To The Future but it’s got drugs, sex and time travel – what more could you want?