Brightly colored jackets, towering Afros and campy, synthetic pop songs are just some of the many things that contribute to the nostalgic experience of “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
The film follows four middle-aged friends who spill a radioactive Russian energy drink in their hot tub and are transported back to the ’80s, where they must decide between preserving the past or changing it for their own personal gain.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” is the latest in the genre of ridiculous, bro-bonding comedies like “The Hangover.” However, excessive vulgarity and undeveloped characters cause this film to sink below the bromance standard.
Though these types of bro-bonding comedies always contain vulgarity, there are a few times when “Hot Tub Time Machine” crosses the line. One of the first gags revolves around dog poo, which, judging by the “ewws” coming from the audience, was not a good way to begin the film.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” falls short in the realm of character development. Clark Duke succeeds in portraying a dorky nerd, and Craig Robinson brings that same droll charm he established as the foreman in “The Office.” But Rob Corddry and John Cusack are less convincing. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the three friends and Corddry’s character, a lazy drunk who only cares about women and booze. “The Hangover” was successful because of the characters’ friendship, but the lack of a sincere dynamic between the four men in “Hot Tub Time Machine” leaves audiences feeling bored between jokes.
The film moves at a decent pace, with jokes and one-liners consistently spread throughout. Most of the jokes are derived from ’80s culture, so they will only be understood by audiences from that generation, but Robinson’s one-liners and Duke’s geeky knowledge help today’s audience relate to the comedy.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” isn’t the next “Hangover,” but the film’s mounting ridiculousness makes it an entertaining comedy to see with a group of friends. The lack of character development causes the audience to lose interest between jokes, but what more can be expected from a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine”?
“Hot Tub Time Machine” was written by Josh Heald, Sean Anders and John Morris and directed by Steve Pink.