The last time a film’s success hinged upon audiences accepting its ludicrous title we ended up with Snakes on a Plane. Rather than venture into the horror route again, however, we focus instead on the comedy genre. Although the cast is varied and plentiful, chances are there are only two faces in Hot Tub Time Machine that you will actually be able to name. This isn’t a knock against the cast, of course, as everyone is perfectly cast here. Instead it’s just kind of a similar situation to what we got with Snakes on a Plane with Samuel L. Jackson as the lead surrounded by “Hey I know that person from…” type declarations. Fortunately while the premise and eventual execution of Hot Tub Time Machine is really quite moronic, it’s done in such a fantastically stupid way that you can’t help but enjoy the ride…as ridiculous as it all may be.
Three friends with less-than-fulfilling lives get the chance to go back and do it all again in the uproarious comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, heating up as an UNRATED, two-disc Blu-ray with Digital Copy and DVD June 29 from MGM Home Entertainment. Delivering “non-stop political incorrectness” and “about a billion laughs” (Los Angeles Times), the film stars John Cusack (High Fidelity), Craig Robinson (“The Office”) and Rob Corddry (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) as buddies looking to recapture a little of their youthful glory by returning to the ski resort where they used to party. After a crazy night of drinking in the hot tub, they realize that they’ve been transported back to the 80s and into the bodies of their younger selves. Now they have to decide whether they should change their futures while wading through a sea of spandex, blue eye shadow and heavy metal hair bands. Hot Tub Time Machine also features a hilarious supporting cast including comedy legend Chevy Chase (Caddyshack), Crispin Glover (Back To The Future) and Clark Duke (Kick-Ass).
This is one of those movies where I wanted to see it based on the title alone. That is, of course, a horrible way to judge a movies quality but between the title and the comedians involved I knew that I’d at least get a few laughs out of it. Admittedly the film doesn’t have me in tears like I’d hoped it would and it is a very, very stupid film if you try to analyze it in the least, but much like The Hangover it’s just a great cast with great chemistry that really just works from start to finish. You truly believe, for whatever reason, that the main cast here is truly friends and throughout this film you’re reminded why Cusack has had such a solid streak when it comes to romantic comedies, as this film has a nice little mixture of both.
The film really doesn’t dwell much on the how’s and why’s of the time machine, instead relying solely on an inexplicable Russian energy drink that powers the time machine. It’s all farfetched but it honestly doesn’t matter—the sooner you embrace the premise the quicker you’ll get to enjoy all the absurdity that comes with adult men traveling back in time to relive a night that changed them forever. The end result to the whole movie is equally as unbelievable and even more inexplicable…but whatever. It doesn’t matter—it’s all too funny to really care about.
Now, granted, it’s an incredibly childish and juvenile film when it comes to its humor style—it’s more akin to something like American Pie than a Judd Apatow outing, but it does have its fair share of fuzzy feeling moments among friends. It’s also nice that almost everyone has their own side story, with the obvious exception being Clark Duke’s character…although he does end up getting the most interaction with Chevy Chase, who always makes for a good time. There was never any moment in the film that felt like it stretched on too long or wore out its welcome; honestly it was probably one of the most tightly and neatly wrapped comedies I’ve seen in some time. And, again, while the finale to it was filled with absurdity, it’s still a remarkably enjoyable piece nonetheless.
Overall Hot Tub Time Machine is quite lewd, but those who fit is target audience will find it more than enjoyable. Recommended.
With a shiny new Blu-ray disc in hand, I can now tackle the retail release of this film. On the outset the packaging looks fairly traditional with a cardboard slipcase on the outside and identical art underneath…or so it seems at first glance. The main characters (sans Clark Duke) are all the younger versions of themselves underneath on the actual jacket art for the case itself. Nice little switcheroo and one that’s not too blatantly noticeable until you realize the cleavage-bursting girl is missing from the cover and replaced with a bear. Ok so that is pretty obvious, but still kudos to Fox for switching things up.
Video is an AVC encoded (@33mbps) transfer and with its 1.85:1 aspect ratio you can expect every salacious frame of this film to nearly fill up your entire 16×9 TV set. It’s a fairly mundane transfer as far as Blu-ray’s go—not that there’s anything really wrong with the picture as it’s sharp and clean from beginning to end, but it just isn’t a film that really screams the need for Blu-ray. In any case it’s a solid transfer and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix too is laid back except when the 80s soundtrack came into play but it provided plenty of clean and clear dialogue out of the center channels, so there’s no complaints from me on that front.
Sadly the slim extras from the previous DVD test disc I reviewed aren’t much meatier here. We get a pretty sad collection of Deleted Scenes (11:41) and the Theatrical Trailer (2:28), of course, but there’s also a scattershot of featurettes with Production: Acting Like Idiots, Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood, Totally Radical Outfits: Dayna Pink, and Crispin Glover: One-Armed Bell Hop. Sadly these featurettes are pretty much the usual fluffy press pieces that are made for films. I really would’ve loved a commentary—getting all these guys in one room would’ve been as entertaining to listen to as this movie was to watch.
Overall a release that’s worth a Rental at first to be sure you like the film, as there are so few extras for it to really be worth anything.
Hot Tub Time Machine is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.