“Hot Tub Time Machine”: Party like it’s 1986

More less than expected from John Cusack and pals

| Apr 11, 2010


Lizzy Caplan and Rob Corddry in scene from Hot Tub Time Machine
Hot Tub Time Machine has a title that either sells itself or turns people away, which is unfortunate, because if you see it, as I was forced to do, you will discover that you will enjoy it much more than you expected to.

You will also laugh much more than you expected to.

John Cusack, Craig Robinson, and Rob Corddry play three best friends named Adam, Nick, and Lou. When Lou has an accident that could be interpreted to have been a suicide attempt, they all decide to take off for the weekend and go to Kodiak Valley ski resort, where they once spent a memorable weekend over 20 years ago.

hotshots-logoTagging along with them is Jacob, Adam’s nerdy teenage nephew.

They are shocked at how much the town has changed and become run down, but they check into the hotel anyway and get the same room that they had stayed in the last time, where they had some of the best times of their lives.

The bellhop, played by Crispin Glover, has only one arm, and thus he isn’t very efficient in getting their luggage up to the room. But after he does, Lou says, “Let’s have some fun! Let’s create a memory!”

The first thing they do is they all jump into the room’s hot tub, which has also seen some better days, or more likely nights, and something weird happens.

The next morning they go skiing, and the first thing they notice is that all the skiers are wearing bright, colorful ski clothes. Then they see a television set with President Ronald Reagan giving a speech, and the word “Live” is written across the screen.

Yes, they are back in 1986 and living the same weekend that they had spent there before. However, they look just like they do currently to the audience, but to the other people and in mirrors to themselves, they look 20 years younger, except for Jacob, of course.

Jacob is freaked out and convinces them that they have to do everything exactly the way they did before, or they might make Hitler president.

Yes, that is funny, but not logical, and there is a running gag about how the bellhop lost his arm.

Hot Tube Time Machine is funny, not logical, and makes you want to party like it’s 1986.


“Hotshots” is a weekly movie review by Dan Culberson available on KGNU Community Radio (88.5 FM in Boulder and 1390 AM in Denver, on Filmchannel1, and on Boulder Reporter. Culberson has been reviewing films since 1972 for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.