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Hot Tub Time Machine (Blu-ray Review)

18 Jun, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 6/29/10
Box Office $50.3 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language. Unrated version also available.
Stars John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover.

Here’s a movie that not only knows how dumb it is, it celebrates the fact. It’s The Hangover with time travel instead of amnesia, as four luckless losers reliving their glory days end up back in the 1980s via a magic ski lodge whirlpool.

After a few sight gags inspired by skiing movies (the ski patrol thinks the group is rebellious because one of them has a snowboard), the guys realize their predicament. They must re-live the day as it originally happened or risk drastically altering the future.

For Adam (John Cusack), that means breaking up with his high-school sweetheart, who stabbed him in the eye for it. Nick (Craig Robinson) gets to remember what it was like to be a musician and sleep with a groupie, though can’t help feel as if he’s cheating on his future wife. Lou (Rob Corddry) doesn’t like the idea of getting beaten up by the ski patrol, so he decides to pass the time making bets on football games for which he already knows the outcome, leading to the best example of time travel chaos theory outside of “Odyssey 5.” And Jacob (Clark Duke from Sex Drive) just wants to keep everyone in line out of fear that any changes could cause him to not be born.

Since Hot Tub Time Machine is essentially a raunchy remake of Back to the Future, it’s only fitting that Crispin Glover would show up in a bit part, as a one-armed bellhop working at the resort. His character primarily exists to set up a running gag about how he originally lost the arm.

Most of the jokes that don’t rely on gross-out humor or sex are references to ’80s flicks or other time travel movies. The gags are hit or miss but are thrown at the audience with such abandon that something is bound to stick. The movie even throws in Chevy Chase as a weird maintenance man who speaks in riddles about how the time machine works. And quirky it-girl Lizzy Caplan (“Party Down”) pops in for a subplot, though she is woefully underused.

The DVD includes a few minor deleted scenes and alternate takes (mostly ad-libs), while the Blu-ray includes some promotional featurettes tied to the theatrical release.

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