HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: A STUDY IN MEH

hot_tub_time_machine_poster

Since I am paid the big bucks around here I will make the uncomfortable absolutist statement, “Modern film comedy is dire, on life support and circling the drain at an ever increasing pace.” Is HTTM as god awful unfunny and a total shitpile and a dumpster fire like Zombieland, Superbad, Knocked Up, Tropical Thunder, The Hangover or the last few Kevin Smith movies? No, its often times somewhat amusing especially when it’s poking fun at Cusack’s 80’s comedy’s. The problem is that the bar of quality for comedy in Hollywood (or any Hollywood production for that matter) has fallen all the way to the floor and sits there. Nowadays, if a movie doesn’t trip on it’s own dick stepping over that languishing floor bar it’s considered good.

Here is the set up, three life long friends and Cusack’s character’s nephew go to their favorite ski resort from their youth to cheer up Rob Corddry’s character who may or may not have tried to off himself. The ski resort is dying along with the town. The companieros get their old room, booze it up, nude it up and pass out in the hot tub and are magically transported to 1986. Hi-larity and hi-jinks ensue.

Like I noted above the movie was some times amusing which is more than I can say for the other comedies I mentioned above. Most of the laughs came at the expense of Cusack’s 1980 movies using visual homages or even famous lines like “I want my two dollars!” There were about a dozen or so of these ‘homages’ littered throughout the movie. There is some nudity (good nudity at that, she’s hot and had nice cans and the scene was one of the funnier ones) but there are some fairly long stretches of not much funny going on.

Here are some of the main problems with HTTM as I see it. First, the characters are rather unlikeable especially Rob Corddry. I don’t watch the Daily Show because I prefer to think for myself so I am unfamiliar with his work If this is an example of the normal quality then I don’t want to see any more. All the other characters are just weak archetypes and pastiches. It’s the married guy scared of his wife, the lonely workaholic, the asshole friend and the young computer nerd kid who’s whole life is on line and never goes outside. Yawn.

The next problem I had was that all the characters were whiney douches and I couldn’t take listening to sniveling throughout the whole movie about how their lives turned out. Fucking grow up, man up and make changes, stop groveling like slaves to fate. It’s annoying you precious pack of wusses.

Cusack looked like he would have rather been anywhere else but in this movie so he probably owed the directer Steve Pink a favor. Daryl from the American Office tried his best and he was acceptable. The Nerd kid was probably the funniest one on a consistent basis. There were two somewhat long cameos by some famous folks that I won’t spoil but I will say they were very uninteresting.

Would I recommend this movie? Marginally. It’s more of rental in my opinion and maybe the “unrated, too shocking for theaters cut” will make up for some parts that seemed to have missing pieces to them. I will state for the record though HTTM is MUCH better than most recent comedies like The Hangover or Zombieland, but really isn’t that just damning it by faint praise? Hopefully, if you go see it, your reaction will be different.

Mahalo,

Xiphos

P.S. I know this is short but I didn’t really care enough about it to go all that deep and I am in the midst of writing a review of The Runaways that is just slightly less in length than the combined works of the Russian masters so I short changed this one.

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36 responses to “HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: A STUDY IN MEH”

  1. MORBIUS says :

    Planning on seeing ‘How to Train your Dragon’ tomorrow, so I will surreptitiously sneak into this ( who am I kidding, I’ll just saunter in, no one checks anyway) …zero expectations, can only go up from there, right?

    • xiphos0311 says :

      It’s not awful it’s just sort of middle of the road in my opinion. It’s somewhat amusing with like one or two laugh out loud moments.

  2. Continentalop says :

    NICE CANS is one of your tags?

  3. Continentalop says :

    I disagree. We are in a Golden Age of Comedy. Just look at this years best picture nominees and best actress winner. If that isn’t funny, I don’t know what is.

  4. Jarv says :

    Cordrry is an unfunny cunt on the Daily Show too.

    What the fuck happened to Comedy? I’m relying on Chris Morris bringing the funny hurt back with 4 Lions.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      What’s 4 Lions?

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Codrry’s character is so unlikable and he handles it so bad it made me wonder why anybody would hang around him for any length of time. I wanted to beat the hell out of him for most of the movie and the wish fulfillment he got at the end was flat out disgusting.

  5. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    meh is the perfect way to describe this…and although I know I’m the resident prude here sometimes, was it just me or was there an excessive dependence on vulgarity just for the sake of it?

    I think that’s a killer for comedy, assuming that excess for it’s own sake is funny, instead of understanding that it’s what you do with the vulgarity that is funny.

    In this one, I felt like these douche nozzles wanted an award because they could vocally sound out the f bomb.

    Has anyone seen In The Loop? British, and littered with strong, vulgar language but also incredibly witty and fast on its feet. You never even notice it, except when it’s making you laugh.

    In this and some of the others you mentioned (Zombieland is excluded on my part, I actually did laugh a bit in that one) it’s like the filmmakers are still at that stage where if someone were to say the word penis in their presence they would spew Hawaiian Punch out of their nostrils.

    I also would have liked a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine to involve more time machine and less hot tub. There were a few funny paradox ideas but not many and certainly not enough to justify the time travel theme.

    Best scene involves Craig Robinson drunkenly calling his wife in 1986, when she’s a little girl.

    I hate to keep complementing the Brits, but go check out FAQ About Time Travel instead. It isn’t brilliant but it’s a far better time travell buddy comedy and its a better homage to the 80s too.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I didn’t notice the vulgarity but that’s mainly due to the fact that i spew all sorts of bad language all the time. The only time I have ever noticed an excessive dependence on vulgarity was in the first couple of episodes of Deadwood and even I was a bit put out by it and usually every third word out of my mouth is a swear.

      The other thing that sort of bothered me was that the 80’s part had a very inauthentic feel to it like it was a modern view on how the 1980’s was and not an actual remembrance of the 80’s if that makes any sense. It’s like they bought a kit that say’s “This is the 80’s”

      • Droid says :

        Yeah, the first episode or two of Deadwood is a real shock. There is far too much swearing, particularly by Ian McShanes character. But I just finished the 5th ep and they’ve toned it down a lot.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah you have to EASE yourself into Deadwood. You can’t just show someone a random fucking episode and expect them to NOT think that its one huge silly joke.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I admit my main problem with Zombieland was with Michael Cera 2.0 I can’t stand that kid. Hell if they had Michael Cera 1.0 in it I probably would have liked the movie better.

    • koutchboom says :

      YES Echo me you and Ebert agree that the best scene was the calling of his wife.

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    Ha ha 1986. They should go back there and scream at John MacNamara: FUCKING PULL BUCKNER IN THE 8TH YOU IDIOT HE CAN’T FUCKING MOVE NO MORE AND PUT STAPLETON IN ESP IF YOU ARE PROTECTING A LEAD!!! asshole!!

    At least that’s what I woulda done.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Poor Billy B he’s still living with that mistake. Still the Mets might have won and they did legitimately win game 7 so there you have it.

  7. Lordbronco says :

    My own mates simply voted no to any consideration of attending this picture.
    It looks like again their insticts have proven sure.
    Also Amanda seigried gets naked lesbianocally with juliane moore whilst taking away Liam newsome wife in Chloe.
    Hmm…perhaps I should step up and review that motion picture…

  8. Lordbronco says :

    Zombieland = amusing silly fun, quite enjoyable.
    The hangover was two steps above the boy in the striped pajamas.
    Seriously, that fat fuck zak “character” would have been curb stomped about 10 minutes into the picture…in my comedy world.
    FYI-I finger type my wotm responses on my itouch-so you all may not judge my grammar or spelling skills

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I don’t get the love for the fat geek dude with the unwritable name, I really don’t, and the Hangover was boring and mostly unfunny. See my reply to Jonah above about Zombieland.

  9. M. Blitz says :

    Yup, don’t care about this movie. But there was a good interview with Cusack in the New York Times about it.

  10. herr milflover says :

    I didnt laugh at anything in that redband trailer, so I dont see why I’d bother watching the whole thing.
    The CANS are indeed NICE tho, so thanks for the link.

    I loved Tropic Thunder when I saw it in theatre, but on dvd a few months ago found that it really wasnt so funny except for Downey Jr and Cruise. That’s the problem with most comedies nowadays, they have very little replay value.

    • koutchboom says :

      I think Tropic Thunder is the best comedy of the past 10 years. I’ve seen that a bunch of times and still find it funny. The last good comedy before that is probably Bad Santa or Election. But Bad Santa bores me now when I watch it.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        I liked Tropic Thunder, but still found myself looking my watch more and more as it went along. Good cast and premise, it just wasn’t quite as interesting as I thought it would be.

  11. xiphos0311 says :

    That’s the problem with most comedies nowadays, they have very little replay value.

    I totally agree with that statement, you are absolutely correct. I can still throw in something like Animal House or Better Off Dead and still laugh but modern comedies I watch them once and that’s it.

  12. kloipy says :

    i think the problem with most comedies of these times is that the writers just throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what sticks. I don’t need all the pop culture refs and I don’t need the wacky characters. Some crude humor, I’ll admit, does make me laugh but it has to be inherent to the plot. I think part of the problem is that, and I realize that I sound lame hear, they forgot to put some heart into it. You don’t give a fuck about what befalls these characters these days because they don’t spend any time trying to build actual character and it’s all just an excuse to have them act ‘zany’.
    On the profanity front- swearing can be funny, and if it’s used with the right timing it can be hilarious and add to the words. But if you just have someone saying ‘fuck’ all the time it’s just not funny
    Example: Superbad- every other words was ‘fuck’ and it just wasn’t funny.
    Planes, Trains, and Automobiles- the scene at the rental counter. Hilarious

  13. koutchboom says :

    The thing about this movie is that its 50 percent good 50 percent bad. But moves a such a pace that they don’t hang up on the bad jokes. Accept that “Lets Get It Started in Here” bit, one of the worst failed attempts at humor recently. Also the Crispin Glover stuff was lame.

    I will say Modern Family is no where near dead, still awesome like always.

  14. koutchboom says :

    Ha ha 13 million, this movie failed. Can’t believe this thing cost 36 million to make. Technically it’s fucking garbage. I thought maybe 10 million at most. I guess the on location at some old ski town jacked up the price.

  15. koutchboom says :

    AND SERIOUSLY FOR THE 500TH TIME!!! EVERYONE FUCK OFF WITH THIS MOVIE AND RENT NBT: Never Been Thawed.

    It was written and directed by most of the writers of this movie, and its the second best mockumentary to Best In Show (third if you really liked Spinal Tap).

    And Xi, it makes fun of the whole idea of comic book collecting which I think you would enjoy.

    Sorry thats the second best comedy of the last ten years.

  16. Tom_Bando says :

    Or better yet, just watch In Bruges. And forget the whole thing.

    • herr milflover says :

      I’m gonna have to watch In Bruges someday just to see what the hell all this praise/hype is about, because the trailers just did absolutely nothing for me.

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