Non-Spoiler Portion: Fun movie. Probably more for the older male set (late 30’s to mid to late 40’s) than the younger crowd (men younger than late 30’s or over 50 and all women), which means it’s probably not going to make “The Hangover” type money, which I would imagine was what they were hoping for given the ad campaign and placement on the movie schedule. (3& ¼ out of 5 stars - recommended).
What can you expect from a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine? Yup, a hot tub time machine. The movie doesn’t waste a lot of time getting us to the HTTM and back to 1986, which is a good thing as the current day characters are a bunch of sad sacks who have sort of gone their separate ways in the years since 1986 due to life and whatnot, plus John Cusak’s nephew who is mysteriously along for the ride (one of the few things actually made clear by the end of the movie). We don’t learn anything about where the HTTM came from, why it actually works as a HTTM or how the HTTM’s “Maintenance Man” fits into things, since he cryptically seems to know what’s going on . . . or not. Given that a few snippets shown in the television spots didn’t make the cut of the movie that I saw, I have to think that there were a lot of additional scenes and situations shot, or at least conceived that didn’t make it to film or in the theatrical cut.
Some funny cameos, one spoiled by the television spots I saw (Chevy Chase) and a few more that weren’t. I thought the smarmy guy Rob Corddry’s character was betting with in the bar looked like a puffier older version of one of the 80’s more infamous “bad boys” and I had to wait until the credits to confirm. Plus Crispin Glover who provides one of the funnier “wait for it” moments of the film that pops up on occasion.
There’s quite a few gags about how goofy we all dressed, what crazy stuff we listened to and what lame shows we watched in the 80’s to remind us that yes, we are in the 80’s. I seem to recall a reference to something later than 1986 made by a character but later couldn’t remember if it was one of the characters from 2010 or not, but why quibble about such a thing when the movie is called HTTM? There’s even a bit of a send-up of 80’s movies in that there’s the group of preppy conforming characters against our group of druggie, talented, non-conforming “heroes.” I did catch a quick throwaway line to Cusak about “Two Dollars” which made me smile.
Can a movie be both funny and depressing? Apparently, yes. The portions of the movie that deal with buddies falling out of touch as they get older for various reasons rings very true, the rest of the situations really don’t, which is of course, fine for a raunchy comedy, which is exactly what this movie is, but it was still a bit off-putting that all of our main characters are not instantly likable. John Cusak is pretty-much playing Lane Meyer (from his Better off Dead Movie) all grown up, but for someone who hasn’t seen that movie, his character doesn’t do anything until the end to show us that he’s got any qualities that we would want in one of our friends in 1986 or 2010. Maybe it’s that life has beaten him down, but when he gets back to 1986 he doesn’t give any vibe that he was a great guy to hang out with then either. They talk about Rob Corddry’s character in 2010 as “being an asshole, but our asshole,” but I would argue that Cusak and Robinson’s characters had some asshole traits too. Again, it was a bit weird to not be naturally rooting for these characters to get the girl or change their past other than to protect Clark Duke’s character only in that he didn’t deserve to be erased from existence for just tagging along, not because he was made to be instantly likeable or anything either. And they telegraphed the big “revelation” about his character more than a few times leading up to their “Back to the Future” moment near the climax of the movie.
Ultimately of course, it’s hard to really quibble with plot points in a movie called HTTM, but there was no real explanation for the what where and why of events, only that you should be too busy laughing at 1980’s goofiness and the bawdy behavior to care, which is fine, but I would imagine those only slightly more anal that I will find even more to nitpick or flame.
Long way of saying: I liked a movie I expected to LOVE (sort of like Superman Returns in that regard). I was also surprised there wasn’t an obvious set-up for a sequel. They can easily do one, but I really expected something to be telegraphed in the “we’ll see that HTTM used again” type of way, which is just more on the great potential, iffy execution of the film.
Oh yeah, Cleveland Browns fans (or haters of a certain player like I am) should not miss this movie. Seriously. I might buy it for my dad just for that alone.
"You are going to get a certain amount of snarkiness on the Internet no matter what, and my rule is that you don't post anything that you wouldn't say to someone's face." Marc Andreyko (Writer of DC Comic's "Manhunter")
Originally posted by DrewDewce SPOILER PORTION: Oh yeah, Cleveland Browns fans (or haters of a certain player like I am) should not miss this movie. Seriously. I might buy it for my dad just for that alone.
Funny enough, the guy who wrote the Harold & Kumar movies posts on a Browns board that I frequent. He mentioned on there that his friend who wrote HTTM was a big Browns fan, hence the surprise. While I don't think I'm going to be able to get away to see this in the theater, I'll DEFINITELY be looking for this when it comes out on DVD just for this part alone.
"As you may have read in Robert Parker's Wine Newsletter, 'Donaghy Estates tastes like the urine of Satan, after a hefty portion of asparagus.'" Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
I could have sworn I'd seen a bump after the fact that said the winner could pick ANYTHING on the channel (thus the comments about not picking any anime/action in the interview) Anyway, I probably shouldn't still be talking about this on Tuesday anyway....