If it's crap ... We'll tell you
A common denominator among most people is that warm fuzzy feeling that nostalgia, the longing for the "great times" of our past, brings us. It's almost as warm and fuzzy as the feeling you get after a massively long bong hit, or after drinking a pint of your favorite Tequila. Or, after watching a great throw-back comedy like "Hot Tub Time Machine" (HTTM).
HTTM mines every last ounce of the aforementioned nostalgia anyone who lived through the 80's has, pushing themselves right up to the limit, but not going over it. The film is about three middle-aged guys, who were best friends in the past but have since drifted apart, going on a trip together after a hilariously failed suicide attempt by one of the crew (and star of the show), Lou 'the Violator", played by Rob Corddry. John Cusack and Craig Robinson play Adam and Nick respectively, Lou's reluctantly supportive friends. Adam and Nick (both having personal crises of their own) decide to head to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort they frequented in their heyday, where their crew had some of the best times of their lives, hoping to recreate some of the magic and good-times of their youth. Along for the ride is Adam's nerdy, Rachel Dratch looking, shut-in nephew Jake, who Adam is trying to force back out into the real-world following Jake's lengthy prison-sentence in Second Life.
Upon their arrival, the gang realizes that Kodiak Valley has fallen on hard-times (with a downtown main-street looking more akin to the streets of John Carpenter's Escape from New York, or Biff Tannen's Hill Valley) and a shit-hole of a ski resort, equipped with a salty-as-all-hell amputee (played hilariously by weirdo and former George McFly - Crispin Glover). In an attempt to sallvage their night, the guys get drunk as hell in their hot-tub and we all know what happens from there (they wake up in 1986 in case you couldn't guess).
This movies was surprisingly hilarious. I can't think of an ensemble comedy that has done a better job at casting apart from The Hangover (which is why I assume this movie has had so many comparisons to it). Every actor gets their chance to shine, though Rob Corddry has some of the best moments. I won't go into detail and ruin all the jokes, but his endless desire to see Crispin Glover's bell-hop character lose his arm in 1986 (it was still attached in the past) were some of the funniest scenes I have watched in years.
The plot of the movie did start to stretch a little thin toward the end, but was supported efficiently by a hefty amount of drug use, Lizzy Caplan, endlessly entertaining 80's references, more drug use...and did I mention Lizzy Caplan. I had a great time laughing at the meta-ridiculousness of a group of guys forced to relive what they had thought was the best times of their lives, only to see that (as we all might realize if we could go back in time) that nostalgia - not unlike the drugs mentioned at the opening of this review - can often impair our ability to see things as they really were. I'd give Hot Tub Time Machine a definite full-price, which would probably be a 'Go Buy on DVD/Blu-Ray' at this point...unless you have a time machine in your toiltet or something.
Which would actually be pretty cool.