I think I’ve covered this thoroughly so far, but in case I haven’t, let’s get this out of the way… I’m a nerd. Okay, now that that’s over, let’s proceed. I watch a lot of trailers, when I hear there’s a good trailer out there, I’m on it like something that is really on something (my nerdiness doesn’t cover analogies). I know there are critics that say you shouldn’t even watch trailers (Roger Ebert has said this on multiple occasions), but that doesn’t stop me. A really good trailer will never fail to get me completely stoked (on a related note, have you seen the Scott Pilgrim trailer? Holy Awesomeness, Batman!). So when I first saw the teaser trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine, anticipation was at… not an all-time high, but it was certainly elevated beyond normal. What I saw was just so weird and bad in all the right ways.
Then the first actual trailer came out and it was even better… until they started playing it all the time. Before I knew it, there was a full-on advertising blitz that was threatening to ruin my total enjoyment of the movie. Fortunately this didn’t happen (although Craig Robinson looking into the camera after saying “hot tub time machine” would have been a lot funnier had I not already seen it a hundred times). What I found was essentially the movie I was expecting to see all along, a group of guys travel back in time to the eighties and try to replicate everything they did the first time around so as not to wreck the time-space continuum. Of course things go haywire and hilarity ensues, right?
Well actually, yeah. Yeah it does. This movie is hysterical. Maybe its not as constantly laugh-out-loud as, say, The Hangover, but there’s also more of a story here (yes, that’s right, a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine has a plot). Sure the depiction of the eighties is a little too on-the-nose and they do resort to more gross-out humor than I require, but there are a lot of nice touches and one great running gag involving Crispin Glover (get it?) and some arm-based humor.
The performances were good all across the board, especially Craig Robinson (who is fast becoming one of the most reliable comedians working today) and Rob Corddry. Corddry surprised me. I usually prefer him in very small roles as he tends to get on my nerves when he’s given too much leeway, but here I found myself laughing at him more than anything else in the movie. John Cusack seemed to be in more of a slumming mode, but he still turns in a more-than-adequate performance, and Clark Duke proved reliable enough for some today-based nerdy humor.
The reviews for this movie were not totally positive, some enjoyed it, but many critics seemed to be suffering from some totally misguided expectations. I know it seems like an obvious argument, but it’s called Hot Tub Time Machine! C’mon! I’ve read a few write-ups that seemed as if they were expecting some high-minded, articulate deconstruction of the comedy genre, when really what they should have been expecting was a bad eighties flick, specifically Ski School, given the location (Ski School was technically made in the nineties, but that’s irrelevant). That’s what I went in with, and guess what? I wasn’t disappointed.
There was, however, one part that reinforced my nerdiness and made me weep for humanity (not actually, my priorities aren’t that out of wack, people). When the guys first start to realize they’ve traveled in time and are hit with a barrage of eighties memorabilia, there is a none-too-subtle reference to Better Off Dead that nobody in the theater other than myself seemed to comprehend. My cousin who is only two years younger than me later told me she had no idea why I was laughing. Sigh.
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on March 30, 2010