In 1986, many things were happening; Apple Computers introduced the Macintosh Plus, 5,000,000 people linked hands from LA to NYC for “Hands Across America” and Radiohead performed for the first time under the name “On a Friday.” When it came to John Cusack and the gang, they were just having a drug-induced weekend at Kodiak Valley, trying their hardest to get laid and have a story to tell.
Fast forward twenty years or so, and Adam (played by John Cusack) is losing another girlfriend, plus his plasma TV, his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) hasn’t left his basement for a couple of months due to his infatuation with Second Life and his duration of doing “hard time” within the game itself. Nick (Craig Robinson) had to give up the band and get a real job at the doggy boutique, now that he is married, and Lou (Rob Corddry) has never even tried to grow up. He goes out every night and tries to recapture his youth again and again, as his hairline recedes and his hangovers get worse.
One night, he flies into his garage just as his favorite song comes on the radio, and while he continues chugging his alcohol and revving his engine to the song, the garage door closes and he passes out. The doctor calls it a suicide attempt and pleads for his friends to spend a few days with him to watch him, they decide to relive a weekend at Kodiak Valley, or K-Val as they liked to call it.
Checking in looks a lot different than back in the 80s; random stray cats are roaming the lobby and the general look is pretty drab now. They luck out and check into their original room and even find the carving in the drawer that Lou left. The bellhop (Crispin Glover) is a running joke through out the movie, as he brings their belongings to their room, he is missing one arm and seems very angry about it as he throws their bags on the ground and holds out his remaining hand for a tip.
They are sitting bored in the room, when the doors fly open all of the sudden and the hot tub is glowing and bubbling enticingly to them. They all hop in and begin to drink, the night flies by and they wake up in 1986.
With people everywhere rocking leg warmers, cassette players and Jheri curls, they can hardly believe that the hot tub was a time machine, until they look in the mirror and see themselves as they looked in the 80s, except Jacob, who wasn’t born yet and looks the same. With vague appearances from the hot tub repairman, played by Chevy Chase, he drops clues about how to get back to their time, without ever really coming out and saying it, which was pretty funny.
Having a chance to relive their 80s has helped them to realize that their lives didn’t turn out the way they wanted and that growing up, kinda sucks. This movie plays like Groundhog Day, in that they need to relive their lives the way they did the first time in order to return to 2010.
With multiple references to Back to the Future and Ashton Kutcher, this movie doesn’t lack in the funny department. Even with the paradox of time travel and all the loop holes that really don’t add up, it’s easy to look past it to get a few laughs out. Unfortunately, John Cusack is out shone by Rob Corddry as Lou, which the story centers around. Cusack is still classic Cusack, fun to look at and still as sharp as ever, Clark Duke was pretty funny as the smart, nerdy kid, as he usually plays, but plays well. Craig Robinson was hilarious as the troubled, anxious member of the party that seemed to have the strangest things happen to him, and like I said before, Rob Corddry stole the show with his rude one-liners and completely over the top statements.
In the end, this is categorized as a “guy comedy” with puking and penis jokes galore, but anyone who is legally able to get in to this film will laugh until they puke.
I give Hot Tub 3.5 “Party ’til you puke!” out of 5.
by Angela Davis