That John Cusack sure keeps himself busy. Escaping the apocalypse in last year’s ‘2012’, and before that Samuel L Jackson’s creepy hotel owner in ‘1408’, it must be said that he has been short of a hit movie for some time. Can he reverse the trend with a bit of comedy?
Although the title is a touch self-explanatory, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ focuses on three middle-aged friends- commitment-phobe Adam (John Cusack), hen-pecked Nick (Craig Robinson), and their depressed out of control friend Lou (Rob Corddry). When Lou is taken to hospital after a suspected suicide attempt, the trio decide to go to Kodiak Valley ski resort, a place where they had their best times as teenagers. Taking Adam’s nephew (Clark Duke) along, they decide to have a wild night of drinking in the hot tub in their room. When they wake the next day, they discover they’ve travelled back in time to ‘Winterfest 86’, a significant weekend in all their lives. They must decide whether to keep things as they were, thus preserving the present, or to change the events to rewrite their future.
Almost from the word go we are given the signal that this is no serious movie. High concept but incredibly low brow, were it in the hands of anyone else it would have been a straight to video nightmare, but with such an impressively assembled cast you can’t help but go along with it. The obviously improvised scenes, the incredible 1980’s cameos (Chevy Chase is looking old, while Crispin Glover looks eerily the same as he did in ‘Back To The Future’) and a script that only really wants to make you laugh makes for a film that is hard to hate.
The strength of the film lies between the three older leads. Cusack is by no means on top form, and is actually not that funny, but his mopey mug provides a great straight man to Corddry, completely let loose as the unhinged Lou (think an older, more depressed Stiffler from ‘American Pie’); and Robinson’s former musician constantly on the verge of a breakdown. Lizzy Caplan is ok as Cusack’s love interest, but feels like a replacement Zooey Deschanel.
Definitely this movie would not have existed had it not been for ‘The Hangover’s’ success, and no doubt a whole host of ‘night-out-gone-wrong’ movies will be headed for our screens. Whilst it’s not as fantastic as the movie it is inspired by, and it’s crass humour may put a lot of people off, there’s a lot of harmless fun to be had, although you may never look at squirrels the same way again…
Hot Tub Time Machine is released on May 7.