Review: Hot Tub Time Machine DVD

STUDIO: MGM/Fox | DIRECTOR: Steve Pink | CAST: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Lyndsey Fonseca, Chevy Chase, Lizzy Caplan, Crispin Glover
RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes; Blu-ray adds four promo featurettes and a Digital Copy of the unrated version
SPECS: NR/R | 99 min. | Comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS Surround | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The 1980s revival keeps on rolling with the release of Hot Tub Time Machine, a funny-enough comedy starring John Cusack (2012), an actor who used to make the kinds of woolly comedies back in the 1980s that this movie is sending up. (Better Off Dead…, anyone?)

This time around, Cusack is a sad-sacky dude who’s joined by a pair of similarly loser-type buddies (Rob Corddry of TV’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Craig Robinson of TV’s The Office) and his decidedly un-cool twenty-something nephew (Clark Duke, Kick-Ass) on a weekend ski trip. Things turn nutty when the bubbling hot tub at their decaying lodge transports them back to a ski outing in 1986. The opportunity is thus granted for the boys to right the wrongs they may have committed and possibly even alter their lives for the better — and cooler. Of course, that’s only if their actions don’t screw up the space/time continuum that is frequently mentioned. But as Hot Tub Time Machine is an up-tempo comedy with enough weed, booze, nudity and 1980s tunes to keep everyone frisky, you can bet that nothing all that horrible happens to make anyone miserable in either the past or the future.

The problem is that nothing much happens that’s all that original either (though lots of it is admittedly pretty humorous). The innate humor in showing the differences between today and yesteryear has been seen before in the Back to the Future time travel movies and other alternate universe films like Pleasantville, which this one also draws much from.

It’s the details that are the funniest in Hot Tub Time Machine: Craig Robinson’s afro pick-emblazoned Day-Glo T-shirt, Sebastian Stan’s vintage White Nights poster, Rob Corddry’s obsession with Mötley Crüe, and so on. It’s definitely the little things that garner the biggest laughs.

The cast is uniformly fun and fine, as are the many familiar supporting performers, which include Crispin Glover (Charlie’s Angels) as a bellboy whose ill-fated future dictates he must lose his arm in a bloody accident (which prompts us to try to deduce how it’s going to happen) and the beautiful Jessica Pare (Lost and Delirious) as a ski bunny who reminds Craig Robinson how much he enjoyed that weekend back in the free-lovin’ 1980s.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray offer R-rated and unrated versions of the film, the latter of which included 10 additional minutes not seen in theaters (highlighted, notably, by additional nudity).

Exclusive to the Blu-ray is a digital copy and four theatrical promo spots, including one entitled Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood, which is news to us.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.