Hot Tub Time Machine Review
By: Mitchell Agostinho, Grade 12
What do you get when you combine a glowing hot tub, 3 friends, 1 nephew and illegal Russian energy drinks? Well you end up in 1986, of course! What else? Hot Tub Time Machine is the newest sleeper hit comedy following in the steps of The Hangover and Superbad. Being a HUGE fan of all things from the 80s myself (especially the music) I was eager about watching this movie, where I could see the decade I adore so much in action. But I was slightly disappointed with how the writers handled the trip back in time. The movie did though have a few good belly laughs and gross-out scenes which like The Hangover and Superbad, make it a great “guy movie”.
It’s not an entirely new story; three men are out of their prime and wishing they could fix their lives by fixing the past. Throw in one teenage geek who hasn’t seen natural sunlight in weeks and you get the classic rag-tag group of men previously seen in Wild Hogs. The gang fly back in time to the winter of 1986 where most of their problems can be traced. One nice man broke up with “the perfect girl”; another had his butt kicked by bullies, the third started to lose his musical talent, and the fourth was conceived to an unknown father. They all get the chance to rewrite the past and improve their present-day lives.
The great thing about this movie is the personal dilemmas the characters face. Each one is emotionally distraught in the present and can’t fix it using conventional means. They’re completely believable and well thought-out. The downfalls of this movie are probably felt only by someone like me, who loves the 80s. There weren’t enough references to the present time and most jokes were about the past in relation to the present (like what they can invent using their knowledge) instead of being confused as to what was available at the time and what wasn’t. That part of unavailability was represented probably by the nephew character, but he didn’t seem to get enough screen time.
The acting, directing, and writing of this movie have some strong “Yays” and “Nays”. The acting, for example, is lead by Ron Corddry who is quickly becoming a raising star and a recognizable face. Director Steve Pink wasn’t the best for this kind of movie, having little experience in any genre. He lived in the 80s but he didn’t grasp it fully as the revolution it was. He made it seem like a barren wasteland where hair metal bands roamed the Earth. However, the writing is a big treat. The amount of inappropriateness that spews from the mouths of the characters is something impressive. There are some heartfelt moments too; but you have to search for them.
All in all, I don’t see this movie getting huge awards or being remembered 100 years from now. For the moment, I enjoyed myself. I wished there was more because Hot Tub Time Machine had a lot of potential that was missed out on. I do recommend this movie to a group of buddies looking for a good belly laugh when Iron Man 2 is sold out. This movie was a good stepping stone for modern time travel movies but I can’t wait till they do another one and learn from these mistakes. That one will be a winner.
Use of music: 5/5