If you go into Hot Tub Time Machine with the wrong expectations, I don't know what to tell you. Like other films before it, such as Dude, Where's My Car, the title Hot Tub Time Machine strongly suggests the type of entertainment you're in for. It's absurd, it's wacky, it's creative. And most importantly, it's damn funny.
John Cusack has to be one the most versatile actors in Hollywood. Anybody who can go from The Thin Red Line and Max (a movie about Hitler's friendship with an art dealer) to 2012 and Hot Tub Time Machine clearly has an iron grip on the craft of acting. Cusack never ceases to amaze and in HTTM, he produces his fair share of comedy.
It's good to see Craig Robinson playing opposite such a heavy hitter as John Cusack. He's no stranger to the big screen, but this seems to be his biggest role to date, and he's earned it. Clark Duke is the newcomer here, being only 25 and having been in only a handful of films, like small roles in Kick-Ass and Superbad. He's also the "newcomer" in the group of characters, playing Adam's (Cusack) nephew.
Rob Corddry is one of the funniest actors working today, and yes, I've come to this conclusion after seeing him in only a handful of films, one of which was W., where he turned out a serious performance as White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Despite my limited exposure, I'm confident in my statement. There's just something about the way he carries himself and delivers his lines that elicits uncontrollable laughter. His exaggerated delivery can elevate boring dialogue into something chuckle worthy.
Crispin Glover deserves a special mention as Phil, who we're introduced to as the one-armed bellhop. When the guys travel back in time, we meet a younger Phil, complete with both arms. We then spend the movie wondering how he loses his arm, something which Lou (Corddry) is very eager to see. And while the actual incident may be a little disappointing, the scenes in which he almost-but-doesn't lose him arm are among some of the funniest in the movie, thanks in large part to Corddry's reactions.
One of Glover's most well known performances is of George McFly in Back to the Future (he was replaced in the sequel), a movie which Hot Tub Time Machine pays clear homage to. In fact, fans of time travel movies will recognize many elements, because all of the characters in the film seem to derive their knowledge of traveling through time from those movies as well. It makes sense. If you were to instantly wind up in the past, wouldn't your first thought be of films like Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?
Hot Tub Time Machine is as creative as they come. Some may find it stupid and others may be turned off by the silly title alone, but the jokes on them, as this is one of the best comedies of the year. It isn't exactly high brow comedy, but it's a step or two above toiler humor, and it's very, very funny.
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