Hot Tub Time Machine (MGM, R)

Director Steve Pink blatantly borrows from one of AFI’s top-10 sci-fi films and it ticks me off.

 It is nice to say that no matter what has happened in your life you would never change a thing, because every bad breakup or embarrassing moment has shaped who you are today. Let’s get real. We all have a few things we like to imagine never occurred. Director Steve Pink fulfills that fantasy in Hot Tub Time Machine. It’s too bad he can’t transport the future you back in time about 90 minutes to warn you not to waste your time with his movie. Oozing with sick jokes and countless ’80s movie references, Pink just can’t decide what kind of film he wants to create. In this case, there are definitely no re-dos.

Adam (John Cusack) and his buddies are stuck in a funk. His girlfriend left him and he is a boring insurance salesmen. His jackass friend Lou (Rob Corddry) is an alcoholic with nothing to live for. Their other buddy Nick (Craig Robinson) used to be a rocker but now he is whipped by his wife. Stuck in their own meaningless lives, they reunite at an old ski lodge hangout. Adam’s nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) bums along for some fun. Even their favorite resort has dilapidated over the years. After a night of binge drinking and psychedelic hot tub partying, these dudes wake up hung over in 1986. They must find out how to get home without changing the course of time. With 2010 being crappy, it is far too tempting to go wild once they get to rewind to the best period of their lives.

Yes, Pink pulls a Back to the Future move. He blatantly borrows from one of AFI’s top-10 sci-fi films, and it ticks me off. He doesn’t stop there. If John Hughes was still with us, he would be appalled to see John Cusack leaning over and kissing a girl on a counter framed exactly like a heartwarming scene in Sixteen Candles. One of everyone’s favorite dads from the ’80s, Chevy Chase, even joins in. Referencing countless classics from this era, Pink just tries to squeeze it all in, but he loses any purpose to the film.

Even Cusack is confused. He flip-flops from his ordinarily stoic, heartbroken self to an awkward comedian. It is ironic that his prime was probably a couple decades ago, too. His character’s pseudo love story isn’t enough to balance with the raunchiness of his fictitious friends. Robinson, performing in the band Chocolate Lipstick, and Duke, adding his young perspective, are the funniest out of the bunch. Corddry is just a loud-mouthed dope. He is bald like Snow White’s dopey, but he sure isn’t kissing any princess cheeks with that filthy mouth.

There are many things I regret in life. I am thinking Pink has his own doubts. | Alice Telios

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