HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: A STUDY IN MEH
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.
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.