Don’t pee on ‘Hot Tub’
special to the daily
For those who appreciate the ’80s and don’t mind a little (or a lot) in the way of projectile bodily fluids, “Hot Tub Time Machine” is almost guaranteed to join the ranks of “Caddy Shack,” “Animal House,” “Better Off Dead,” “Old School” and a rash of others as a staple in most people’s collection of classic comedies.
Aged as they may be since their hey days of making said comedies, John Cusack and Chevy Chase open a new retrospective chapter in “Hot Tub,” Cusack playing one of his trademark off-beat, calm but troubled characters and Chase making more of a cameo as the cryptic hot tub repair man.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” focuses on four men with sad lives. Cusack plays Adam, a middle-class suburbanite whose live-in girlfriend has just moved out with most of their belongings and who houses his nephew, 20-year-old nerd Jacob, who never leaves the basement and lives in a world of computer-based reality games. Nick, who at one point in his life was on the road to becoming a successful musician, has resigned to a job of extracting items from dogs’ orifices. And then there is Lou, a full-blown suicidal alcoholic.
In 1986, however, the three older men were on top of the world, particularly on spring break in their favorite ski town (is it Vail? Is it Breckenridge? It could be …), where life was a constant string of sex, partying and excitement.
So when Adam’s idea of a therapeutic getaway for the three and his tag-a-long nephew involves returning to the ski town for a mini vacation, the drabness of their lives is accentuated by the fact that their favorite lodge and the entire town has fallen to total disrepair.
They try to make the best of it, but a night of getting hopelessly drunk in the hot tub becomes an accidental porthole into the past.
Ski town audiences will especially appreciate the neon one-pieces and ski patrol mystique referenced, and everyone is sure to giggle at the irony of Crispin Glover’s presence in the film, best known as George McFly from Hollywood’s most classic tale of time travel (“Back to the Future”). Glover appears as a grumpy one-armed bellman in the hotel where all the magic took place and the enigma of his lost arm becomes a silly subplot once 1986 comes back to life.
In a very similar vein to “Back to the Future,” in which Marty McFly travels to the past and has to take great care in allowing time to unfold in the manner that led to his existence, the characters in “Hot Tub Time Machine” struggle to relive the regrettable scenes of their past in order to avoid making alarming impacts on their future – and the future of the universe, of course.
There could probably be less in the way of spray-vomiting and penis-related jokes, but such is the formula of popular guy movies. Beyond this, everything else is just so goofy you’re bound to crack up at least a few times and leave the theater grinning.
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