Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

* * * out of four stars

I think the last comedy I went to simply because of the name was “Dude, Where’s My Car?” But where “Dude” falls short, “Hot Tub Time Machine” prevails.

“Hot Tub Time Machine.” What a great name! It’s a hot tub, but it’s also a time machine. And when four good friends on the vacation from hell get together in a run-down, beat up hotel that was once the home of crazy partying and drunken (or stoned) sex and decide to get in and get drunk, they wake up the next morning twenty-four years in the past with a major hangover.

John Cusack (“Say Anything,” “High Fidelity”) plays the unlucky-in-love Adam. His two best friends are the former musician Nick (Craig Robinson, “The Office”) and crazy drug addict Lou (Rob Corddry, “The Daily Show”). When Lou ends up in the hospital after a near accidental suicide, Adam and Nick visit him in the hospital with an offer to take him to their old stomping grounds up in the mountains. Little do they know that within twenty-four hours they will be reliving their twenties, with all the mishaps and craziness that went with it.

The movie presents time travel as a way to have more sex, drugs, alcohol and money. Who wouldn’t go back in time to make a few bets on sports games? It worked in “Back to the Future Part II!” The main focus on the film is when our heroes decide not to change anything in the past until the hot tub is fixed. Chevy Chase (“National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Community”) plays the repairman for the tub, always giving a slight hint as to why the characters are there and how they can get back. They also make reference to the butterfly effect, where a single bug being squished could cause the end of the world… for example, a squirrel gets puked on and later shows up at a pivotal moment, changing history.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is raunchy, vulgar and hilarious as well. It works as a coming-of-middle-age adventure and a funny comedy about friendship and living life to its fullest.

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