Wednesday 5 May 2010

New Release - Hot Tub Time Machine

Hats off to the person who coined the phrase Hot Tub Time Machine, what a brilliant name for a film! Its just a shame that the concept failed to live up to expectations and left me feeling like I needed my own hot tub time machine so that I could travel back in time and avoid ever watching the movie.

When a disgruntled middle aged man attempts to commit suicide, it is down to  his old friends (through association rather than choice) Adam and Nick, played by John Cusack and Craig Robinson respectively, to restore his faith in humanity with a trip to a ski resort from their teenage years. Joined by Adam’s nephew Jacob, it is not long before the foursome take a ride in a time bending hot tub and wind up twenty years earlier when the ski slope was in its heyday - cue sexy young ladies in 80s gear and an endless stream of crude, unfunny jokes.

This is basically Back to the Future crossed with The Hangover -as the marketing team behind the film have kindly pointed out - but what they fail to mention is that while it may sound brilliant on paper, the amalgamation of the two ideas falls flat as both plot lines meander aimlessly from one dull situation to the next. There are a number of moments throughout where Hot Tub Time Machine goes beyond being a homage to its influences and becomes a blatant rip off, failing miserably to replicate the choicest moments from Back to the Future and instead just ruining the credibility of the film.

I sincerely hope that unlike most comedies the actors were not required to ad lib their own lines, as while this works well with comedians such as Steve Carrel and Will Ferrell, Cusack and co. could not cause a single smile with their laboured gags. If however, the actors stuck rigorously to their lines, then the scriptwriters would benefit enormously from a visit to their local comedy club to gain some fresh ideas, as the jokes could have easily been written by an immature teenager.

For me, the star of the whole film was Crispin Glover, whose mere inclusion is bound to incite comparisons to everyone’s favourite time travel movie involving a flux capacitor. While his screen time is limited, the running gag revolving around the loss of his limb is very amusing, a clear cut above the rest of the humour, but serves only to frustrate the audience as they realise that Hot Tub Time Machine had the potential to be something very special.

Hot Tub Time Machine is a missed opportunity, and while it is not the worst of comedies, the only reason it stands out from a crowded genre is its daft title and a handful of stolen ideas. By cleverly fooling the general public with a brilliant marketing campaign, Hot Tub Time Machine is bound to fair reasonably well at the box office but you would do well to spend your money on something far more enjoyable - go and buy Back To The Future, it's much cooler to travel through time in a Delorean.


If you liked this film you will enjoy these:

Back To The Future
The Hangover

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