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Hot Tub Time Machine(2010)
Three buddies are looking to recapture a little of their youthful glory by returning to the ski resort where they used to party. After a crazy night of drinking in the hot tub, they realize that they’ve been transported back to the 80s and into the bodies of their younger selves. Now they have to decide whether they should change their futures while wading through a sea of spandex, blue eye shadow and heavy metal hair bands.
For more about Hot Tub Time Machine and the Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray release, see Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on July 3, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Chevy Chase, Sebastian Stan
Director: Steve Pink
» See full cast & crew
Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray Review
No Hangover, but worth a splash.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, July 3, 2010
Hot Tub Time Machine. Hot Tub Time Machine. Say it out loud. Hot…Tub…Time… Machine. It's hypnotic, isn't it? Strangely juxtaposed, impossible, more than a little absurd, it's like a Zen koan or a Dadaist poem. If I did transcendental meditation, I'm pretty sure Hot Tub Time Machine would be my mantra. Like Snakes on a Plane or Zack and Miri Make a Porno, it's blindingly obvious what the movie is about. Just let your mind play word association with Hot Tub: Party. Booze. Drunk. Casual sex. Unexpected pregnancy. Inevitable self- loathing. Nostalgia. Regret. Do-over. Okay, now try Time Machine: Delorean. Back to the Future. George McFly. Crispin Glover. 1980s. Outrageous fashion. Neon ski suits. Nostalgia. Regret. Do-over. Combine both lists, add a few other words—bodily fluids, crass humor, guy's night out—and you've got the gist of Hot Tub Time Machine. Don't let the predictability stop you from watching, though. HTTM doesn't quite live up to the absurdity of its premise—really, how could it—but it's the best comedy to come along so far this year.
Beneath the comedy, Hot Tub Time Machine is about three middle-aged friends trying to recapture their youth, come to terms with the decisions they've made, and make sense of the direction their lives have taken. Adam (John Cusack) is a down-in-the-dumps life insurance salesman whose wife has just left him. Nick (Craig Robinson), a cuckolded husband and former musician who now works at a pet shop called 'Sup Dog, where he fishes car keys and other objects out of constipated canine asses. And metal head Lou (Rob Corddry)—a foul-mouthed, misogynistic homophobe—has pissed away his life in loneliness while trying to delay growing up. After Lou passes out in what looks conspicuously like a suicide attempt—he's revving the engine of his car in time to Mötley Crüe, inside a closed garage—his friends decide to cheer him up by taking him to their old stomping grounds, Kodiak Valley, where they once spent a seriously debauched ski holiday back in '86. They remember this trip through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia—imagining it was all sex, drugs, and rock and roll—but it was actually the beginning of the end. Here, Lou got the crap kicked out of him by a preppy ski patrol prick, Nick's music career fizzled out, and Adam broke up with "the white buffalo," a.k.a., the girl that got away.
When they return, with Adam's computer-geek nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) in tow, Kodiak Valley is a run-down dump, with Crispin Clover as a creepy one-armed bellhop. And here's where things get weird. (And funnier. The first act, out of necessity, is a bit of a downer.) Lou spills a Russian energy drink on the control panel of the hot tub they're partying in, and when they wake up the next morning—still in the tub—shazaam! It's 1986. But they don't believe it. "Is there some sort of retro thing going on this weekend?" asks Jacob as he coasts down the hill on his then- newfangled snowboard. A rich guy slaloms by, talking on a brick-sized cell phone. In the lodge, Alf, Reagan, and Bowie are on TV, and everywhere you look there are leg warmers and Walkmans. Nick runs up to a ditzy chick wearing a "Where's the Beef?" shirt and asks her what color Michael Jackson is. "Uh," she looks at him incredulously, "black?" And they're off. In this Hangover/Back to the Future hybrid, our three friends realize they have to do exactly what they did twenty-some years ago, or else Jacob—who is starting to flicker and turn translucent—may never be born. Naturally, faced with the failures of their past, this proves increasingly more difficult. No one wants to be a royal screw-up again.
The film cribs liberally from numerous time travel movies, but it's all done in the service of wink- wink allusions—like casting former "George McFly" Crispin Glover as the bellhop—and the general silliness of the whole hot tub that can bend space-time scenario. (A word of warning: Don't invite your wannabe-astrophysicist friend over to watch if he's going to nitpick about paradoxes and time travel rule breaking.) In spite of, or perhaps because of the almost breathtaking stupidity of the script, HTTM is a riot, filled with anarchic comic beats that'll either make you bust a gut or half cover your eyes in horror. And you will squirm uncomfortably. A misguided two-guys-and-a- girl threesome ends with a frank discussion of boners, Nick calls his currently 9-year-old wife to obscenely ream her out about her future infidelities, and in the film's most frantic oh my gosh, please, please no moment, Lou loses a bet and is forced at gunpoint to…well, I won't spoil it for you, but let's just say it involves his mouth and Nick's penis. Nearly every bodily fluid makes an appearance at some point, and the obligatory sex scenes are insanely awkward. So, no, we're not talking about "high" comedy here; this is straight-up gross-out slapstick with a surprising heart. Even at their worst, these characters inspire sympathy, simply because we've all made choices we wish we could change.
The laughs aren't as big or as dense as they are in The Hangover, but Hot Time Tub Machine has a similar exuberance, thanks in large part to the nearly perfect cast. Clark Duke plays the along-for-the-ride sidekick well, cracking wise when he's not worried for his own future existence, and Craig Robinson gets to blow the minds of his '80s audience by covering a yet-to-be- written Black Eyed Peas song. (He also gets to say, "It must be some kind of hot tub time machine," deadpan, directly into the camera.) If there's a scene-stealer, it's erstwhile Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry, whose performance is so hilariously out-of-control it could be charged with reckless endangerment. The only wasted talent is Chevy Chase, who makes repeated cameos as the hot tub repair man, really only serving as another hey, look who it is '80s reference. Which brings us to John Cusack, an actor who made it big in the '80s, playing a man who wishes he could go back to the '80s. How reflexive! Cusack is Hot Tub Time Machine's sad-eyed soul, giving the film a warmth that you don't typically expect from your average gross-out comedy, and definitely don't expect from one that features a puke-stained squirrel, a time traveling hot tub, and Rob Corddry's face covered in…well, let's just hope it's hand soap.
Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hot Tub Time Machine makes a splash on Blu-ray with a totally radical 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. MGM has done a terrific job on this release. First off, the film is ridiculously colorful. Given all of the hyperbolic 1980s outfits, bright primaries and blazing neon hues are in abundance, and everything looks ultra-saturated, from the yellow glow of the titular time machine to the light show at the Poison concert. If you're looking for an image with eye-gouging pop, this is it. The less overtly colorful parts of the picture are just as sumptuous, with rich wood paneling in the lodge, cool snowy exteriors, and skin tones that are warm and mostly natural. (Mostly, because some of the women—especially the naked ones—look overly bronzed.) There are a few scenes where blacks look somewhat grayish—in an attempt to preserve shadow detail—but most of the time, and especially during daylight sequences, contrast is nice and tight. It's also worth noting that clarity keeps up with color throughout. There are scattered shots that look a little soft, but most of the film is crisp and defined, with no overt evidence of edge enhancement. You'll constantly notice facial texture, prop and set detail, and the weft of absurd 1980s sweaters. Shot on 35mm and untouched by DNR, the image retains a warm filmic quality, with a fine grain structure that's never obtrusive. Likewise, there are no compression-related artifacts to mar the picture.
Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Comedies typically aren't known for engaging sound design, and while Hot Tub Time Machine is no exception, the film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track definitely puts out when needed. All of the bitchin' '80s tunes sound as big as ever, with songs from Public Enemy, INXS, New Order, Talking Heads and more. Bass response is quite strong, the high-end is clear, and whether it's riff- heavy guitar, prototypical hip-hop, or New Wave synthesizer, the music has presence, filling out all of the channels and frequently making for one loud-as-hell wall of sound. When not occupied by mood- driving songs, the rear speakers occasionally output place-establishing ambience—the gurgle of the hot tub, club chatter, airy outdoor sounds—but it's all fairly quiet, and there are few discrete cross-channel movements. No matter. The mix does what it needs to do. Namely, make sure the dialogue comes through cleanly—it does—and support the comedy with a killer Reagan-era soundtrack. This disc also includes a French 5.1 Dolby Digital track, and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available in easy-to-read white lettering.
Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, there's a serious lack of substantive special features on this release. Deleted Scenes (1080p, 11:46) is the disc's longest offering, and it's worth checking out the excised cuts, if only to see Rob Corddry improvise during the wince-inducing B.J. scene. Next up we have four Theatrical Promotional Spots (1080p, 6:29 total), including Production: Acting Like Idiots, Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood, Totally Radical Outfits: Dayna Pink, and Crispin Glover: One Armed Bellhop. These are your run-of-the-mill promos, with brief actor interviews and a bit of behind-the-scenes footage. Wrapping it up, we have the film's Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 2:10). Where are the outtakes?
Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Though Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't quite live up to the awesomeness of its title, it's a hell of a lot better than your average, crass, dudes-night-out-style comedy. The laugh-per-minute ratio may be somewhat smaller than it is for The Hangover, but there are definitely some I'm having trouble breathing and my cheeks hurt sequences, as well as a few oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm watching this scenes. Aside from the noticeable lack of substantive special features, this is a fantastic Blu-ray package as well, with a solid, '80s-infused soundtrack and an ultra-colorful high definition transfer. Recommended.
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Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Hot Tub Time Machine Announced on Blu-ray - May 5, 2010
MGM Home Entertainment, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, has announced the Blu-ray release of the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, with a street date of June 29, barely three months after it opened in theaters. The Blu-ray will include the R-rated ...
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