In this DoubleShot review, Senior Contributor Andrew Majors and Editor in Chief Zac Pritcher give their opposing view points on one of this year’s early comedic efforts, Hot Tub Time Machine.
Oftentimes it’s actually refreshing to walk into a movie knowing you are going to get something direct and straight forward. With a title like Hot Tub Time Machine, you buy a ticket knowing one thing: There is going to be a hot tub somewhere, and the odds of it transporting some people through time are pretty good. It’s too bad that there’s nothing substantial about the movie, other than packing a couple laughs.
The first thought I actually had walking into this movie was that it is an extremely odd choice for John Cusack. A gross-out-comedy doesn’t exactly seem to be his traditional choice, but perhaps he was looking for something easy to sort of reinvent his image. The only problem is that as Adam, he never really seems to click. Most of Adam’s involvement seems awkward. Largely it seemed as if Cusack was never quite comfortable in his own body, and it translates poorly on screen.
The rest of the cast is hit-or-miss as well. The real standout is Rob Corddry (The Daily Show) as Lou, and he delivers some absolutely hilarious dialogue. The problem is that his character Lou, easily the funniest character within the entire movie, even begins to get a little overworked at points. He is there to bring the funny, and most of the time he does. The act just gets a little tired at points. No fault of Corddry’s, to be sure, he’s just working with a script that has him always dialed up to eleven, and at some points it just doesn’t work.
Craig Robinson (The Office) is just alright. He, like Cusack, doesn’t seem to gel with the brand of comedy presented within the movie. His comedy is usually based on timing, and in a raunchy comedy he doesn’t really have any time to develop his strength.
Clark Duke as Jacob really only serves one purpose: to be a character not alive during 1986. It’s an interesting concept, but his entire arc of knowing that he was conceived that very weekend is telegraphed from a mile away. The payoff isn’t even worth it because it’s already a foregone conclusion who he is going to end up being fathered by.
Then there is Chevy Chase, who is predictably awful in his thankfully small role, and his character serves little to no point whatsoever. Every scene he’s in slows the movie down to a screeching (and laughless) halt.
As much as the writers try, none of the four leading characters (nor any other character) are developed well enough to really care about. They provide a couple laughs, but nothing more. Anyone who even tries to compare this to The Hangover is an absolute buffoon. It’s not even close. That movie was structured brilliantly and the jokes were put into the ridiculous situations. Hot Tub Time Machine creates jokes and then finds situations where they can be applied. It leads to a choppily directed movie with no real flow.
And how are Nick and Adam not upset at the end when Lou changes everything that they seemingly missed out on during the last 25 years of their lives? Couldn’t they have stayed and done the exact same thing, while also experiencing their own lives? The majority of their lives are altered to suit what they really want, but they have no memory of any of it. They get what they seem to want, but what’s the point? They changed without changing. Pretty lazy writing.
The film isn’t unbearable. It has some laughs, but it just didn’t resonate with me. It’s almost instantly forgettable and doesn’t have any incredibly memorable dialogue. It’s just a movie to watch once and laugh, and then move on. If you can get passed the numerous things that plague the movie, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it a great deal more than I did. But it’s a mixed bag where the only positive is the comedy, and everything else is pretty bad.
Final Score: 5.0/10 (Mediocre)
I actually liked the film a lot more than Mr. Majors here did. As he stated at the beginning of the review, you know what you’re going into the theater to see when you buy your ticket; a shallow, often pointless comedy about nothing more than a Hot Tub that doubles as a Time Machine.
And really, if you buy a ticket for a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine, you shouldn’t really expect deep characters, a satisfying story arc, and you shouldn’t plan on taking anything away from the movie after the experience is over. You are walking into the theater to see a movie that you hope is one thing and one thing only: funny.
Which Hot Tub Time Machine is. Lou, as Andrew stated, is the funniest character in the movie, serving as the hot head douche bag who hasn’t changed since High School in any way other than the fact that he’s lost his hair. He’s loud, he’s obnoxious, and he’s hilarious. The rest of the cast serves their purposes just fine, with a bit of awkward “charm” that is very easy to get passed, especially during the more gut-busting funny scenes.
If you’re expecting a smart comedy from a film entitled Hot Tub Time Machine, you are an idiot. This movie is for college and high school kids looking for something to laugh at, and it achieves its task just fine. As Majors has already said, there is no purpose for the film whatsoever. As long as you know that and are fine with it, you’ll have a fun time.
Score: 7.75/10 (Good)