Back to the Future meets Harold & Kumar in Hot Tub Time Machine, the new R-rated comedy from the director of High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank. Starring John Cusack, Clark Duke (Kick-Ass), Craig Robinson ("The Office") and Rob Corddry (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay), Hot Tub Time Machine is unfortunately a less-than-hilarious entry into the modern day comedy genre, a dish that would have been better served 15 years ago.
The movie's plot is simple: four friends go on vacation to a ski resort three of them visited in 1986. There, they hop in their suite's hot tub and are transported back in time to that date, where they realize they have to repeat the events of the past to save the future, namely Jacob (Duke), who was conceived on the trip and will cease to exist if things don't go as planned. As the men rediscover their youth, they also realize that they now have the opportunity to rectify past mistakes.
As a stupid comedy, Hot Tub Time Machine works. The concept is simple and outlandish; it doesn't try too hard to make sense; hell, it doesn't try too hard to be good. The actors appear to have fun in their respective roles, primarily because so little is asked of them. The script and everything about the movie is blunt and goofy; it's easy to watch and consistently harmless.
It's also not very funny. There are some moments that evoke chuckles and Hot Tub Time Machine is entertaining, but it's not funny. The movie feels like an early Farrelly brothers movie, only without the clever jokes. And if you don't think Farrelly brother movies have clever jokes to begin with, that says something. Hot Tub Time Machine relies heavily on pot and toilet humor, but the humor hasn't been fresh since, well, the eighties.
Hot Tub Time Machine has its moments and in time could become a cult classic that is entertaining when watched by large groups of guys on college campuses, but the script fails to capture the chemistry Harold and Kumar have together, for instance, or the wittiness R-rated comedies tend to have these days.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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