I was quasi-excited about the comedic potential of Hot Tub Time Machine. First of all, the frickin’ title is Hot Tub Time Machine. I am in right there. Sprinkle in some Rob Corddry (of The Daily Show fame), Craig Robinson (of The Office, Pineapple Express, and Eastbound & Down fame), and John Cusack (of holding a boombox over his head fame), and you have a nice little recipe going.
Let’s just run through a quick pros and cons on it:
First, the pros – Corddry is actually somewhat funny in his curmudgeony role. Craig Robinson is excellent as always. The small parts for Chevy Chase (really making that comeback work nicely since stepping into the brilliance that is Community) and Lizzy Caplan (I am biased, I enjoy all her work) added nicely to the movie. There is one actually funny running joke that I really dug. Having the time machine take them back to an 80’s setting worked for some enjoyable set decoration and costumes. I enjoyed Crispin Glover’s return from the grave. The end credit sequence is amazing.
Next, the Cons – the plot really meanders from time to time. Cusack just doesn’t do anything for me as I don’t find him charming or funny. I am also not a fan of the actor who played Jacob. The gross out humor within the first two minutes was really pointless. I wasn’t a huge fan of the telegraphed ending. It is only 100 minutes, but it felt waayyy longer (never a good sign). There just weren’t that many big laughs in it.
The positives are just barely able to overcome the negatives, which makes it a passable comedy but nothing special. It’s certainly worth a look, maybe not at theatre prices, but worth a rental.