Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

April 30, 2010

Time warped

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:58 pm

April 30, 2010

Cast: John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson

Director: Steve Pink

In ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ three friends from high school, disillusioned in middle age, decide to revisit the ski resort where they used to hang out, for a weekend of nostalgia. John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson star as the grumpy 40-somethings who drive up to Kodiak Valley only to find out the entire town’s now a deserted ghost of its former self.

When their hotel jacuzzi short-circuits, they’re zapped back to the 80s when they had bad haircuts and girlfriend problems. Joining them on the trip is Cusack’s nerdy 20-something nephew, played by Clark Duke, who discovers embarrassing truths about his mom during this flashback.

Playing out as a cross between ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Back to the Future’, this film marries gross out frat-boy humor with time-altering drama, but ultimately you’re left with a confused film that is only moderately amusing.

There are puke jokes and shit jokes and semen jokes all over the place, but what’s genuinely funny are some of the pop-cultural references and dialogues. On noticing Regan on TV and a youngster sporting a Walkman, one of our leads suspects something’s not quite right, and asks an innocent kid, “What colour is Michael Jackson?” The response confirms they’re way back in the past. “Black,” the kid replies.

My favourite gag in the film involves a crabby one-armed bellhop who our heroes meet at the resort when they check in, and then his recurring appearance in the flashback portions leading up to the incident where he loses his arm.

Unfortunately the filmmakers don’t really exploit the time travel premise, and the crude humour doesn’t hold very long in the absence of a fleshed-out script. John Cusack, poster-boy of those 80s teenage flicks, looks embarrassed he’s cashing a paycheck for this film, but in all fairness he’s still the only reason you’re willing to continue watching till the end.

I’m going with two out of five for ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’; it’s a promising idea that’s sadly underdeveloped. Watch it if you’re bored and have nothing better to do.

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