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Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine is limp and disjointed.

  | March 07, 2014 09:48 IST

Rating:

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Genre:
    Comedy/Sci-Fi
  • Cast:
    John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Sebastian Stan
  • Director:
    Steve Pink
A film called Hot Tub Time Machine had better be side-achingly funny. Otherwise the title becomes the punch line and it's all down hill from there.

Hot Tub Time Machine has one killer joke - a running gag about a one-armed bell hop in a ramshackle ski resort.
But the rest of the film is an uneasy mix of melancholy and longing with vomit and sexual gags.

I have no issues with the lack of taste but the jokes just aren't as inspired as they should have been.

The film is about three friends, Nick, Lou and Adam, whom we first meet in the present. All three are middle-aged losers, grappling with failure and opportunities lost.

Lou, played by Rob Corddry, a divorced, seriously manic alcoholic tries to kill himself, which prompts the other two to plan a trip to a ski resort where they had once indulged in adolescent debauchery and felt like kings of the world.

The resort is now a frightening dump but the hot tub in their room is actually a time machine, which transports them back to 1986 and allows them to rework their sorry lives.

It's a crackling concept and for a while, director Steve Pink keeps things humming nicely.

The jokes, determinedly gross and sometimes offensive, keep coming. When the friends start to suspect that their world is askew, they grab a woman and ask: what colour is Michael Jackson? She gives them a look and says: Black, which sends them scurrying into their room.

There's a load of pop culture references, including Chevy Chase, the 80s icon, who shows up as a sort of spiritual plumber who helps them understand the nuances of time-travel. But Pink can't sustain the momentum.

The energy flags, the jokes strain to breaking point and beyond a point, the film starts to feel more like work than fun.

I enjoyed John Cussack's shocked hangdog look and Corddry is excellent as the fiercely unlikable Lou. But Hot Tub Time Machine is limp and disjointed.
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