From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine - B

Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language, 95 minutes

Bawdy, familiar "Hot Tub Time Machine" provides a wave of laughs

The title alone of the raucous new comedy is inspiring enough to see what "Hot Tub Time Machine" is all about. You'll get plenty of splashy laughs in the bawdy, conventional and low-brow comedy starring the always likable John Cusack, who's clearly slumming it here but seems to have a fun time. The film isn't as original or inventive as its title, with a busy story that at times goes awry but is held together by "Hot Tub's" amusing cast, who works well together.

A group of best friends have had a string of bad luck with their adult lives: Adam (Cusack) has been dumped by his girlfriend; Lou (Rob Corddry) is a party guy who cannot find the party; Nick’s ("The Office's" Craig Robinson) wife controls his every move; and Adam’s video game obsessed nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) will not leave his basement.

After a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, the men wake up with heads pounding, in the year 1986. The protagonists can see each other as their proper age, but when they look at their reflections and to everyone else they appear as they did in 1986 (except for Jacob, who wasn't born yet). The quartet of men are at first concerned they must not mess anything up but then decide this may be a chance to change their future lives and get what they always wanted.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" is a coarsely amusing, mostly hilarious comedy with a handful of well-placed, laugh-out loud (though at times gross) laughs. The nonsensical, sloppy script goes in too many directions, especially in the busy, final act but the cast works well together and makes it worth watching. Cusack is the center but comedian and usual supporting player Corddry steals the show as the foul-mouthed Lou, who is the one who clearly changes the future (think Loogle and Motley Lue) in the film's final scenes, which are among its funniest.

Robinson has "Hot Tub's" best line, a Michael Jackson joke that's still remarkably funny, Cusack gets stabbed in the eye and even Chevy Chase gets in the act in a small role as a mysterious repairman who helps the men get back home. Watch for the sly Crispin Glover, experiencing a career comeback with this and the recent "Alice in Wonderland," in an inspired role (considering his other time travel film "Back to the Future") as a one-armed bellboy.

"Hot Tub's" cast is clearly the best thing about the film, and they work well together and for director Steve Pink, director of 2006's "Accepted" and producer of Cusack's own "High Fidelity." The raucous, profane film should be a hit, though, due in part to its cast, who makes getting in "Hot Tub Time Machine" a memorable experience.