Hot Tub Time Machine

By contributor Patrick Zabriskie

Stars:  ★★★☆

Summary:  So ridiculous it had to work.

Hot Tub Time Machine Poster

Perhaps there is benefit to the unusual equation.

It’s rare that I believe a film will be good on a gut feeling.  Typically I like to read reviews, talk to people who have seen it, and then actually watch the film myself before labeling it as enjoyable or bad.

Not so with ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’.

I had no reason to like it. Just watching commercials for it, it should have looked too ridiculous for me to believe it would have been good. I should have wanted to denounce it as a stupid, ‘Hangover’-with-a-gimmick, rip off film that would go for cheap laughs and cheat me out of ten bucks. I should have had a bad feeling about this film. But I didn’t, and that has made all the differences.
Yes, I saw all of the commercials for it, and I said to myself, “Self, we have to see this movie! And we also have to stop referring to our self in the third person!” Okay that didn’t really happen, but the point is that I had a good vibe out this movie, and I convinced a group of friends of mine, who unfortunately did NOT share my optimism, to see it. Long story short, we all were thoroughly entertained.

So, (in case the blatant title and all the commercials didn’t tell you the gist of the plot) four guys whose lives are decidedly crappy get whisked away through the power of “some kind of hot tub time machine” back to 1986, to a very memorable and pivotal weekend they spent together. Hilarity ensues as they relive it, deciding whether or not to change their actions and change the future, and in the end renew their fraying bonds of friendship with each other.

It’s not that this movie isn’t dumb. It’s not that it isn’t a ‘Hangover’-with-a-gimmick film. Believe me it is. But what saves is that the filmmakers say, “Yes, we know it’s ridiculous and stupid, but just go with us on it and we promise we’ll make you laugh all the way through.” And they do. Really, it’s surprisingly witty dialogue and jokes that work more than half the time that make this film entertaining. I couldn’t help but smile when they talk about the recent bomb of ‘Wild Hogs’ when mentioning male bonding, or how one of the time travelers changes the future and becomes a member of Motley Crue.

So, if you’re a fan of spoofs and time travel, give this film a watch. You’ll be surprised at how much you laugh.

(Note from James: From what I understand, however, the film is very much R-rated, so I’ll leave it at that.)