Movie review: "Hot Tub Time Machine"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The buddy comedy "Hot Tub Time Machine" will inevitably draw comparisons to last summer's hit "The Hangover." These comparisons are misplaced, despite a four-dudes-cutting-loose concept and a similar advertising campaign.

With this movie, we actually get to see the crude, unapologetically offensive and ultimately much funnier night that took place, not just the aftermath and some pictures.

Jumping out of the gate with some raunchy, dark backstories, the movie introduces three friends - Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Corddry) - who've lost their touch thanks to unfulfilling careers, failed relationships or just pure narcissism.

To avoid current tribulations and relive their glory days, these guys decide a return trip to their favorite ski resort is in order. Dragged along is Adam's tech-nerd nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), who generally avoids all human contact.

Unfortunately, their former wonderland is now more like downtown Detroit, with boarded-up shops and a dilapidated lodge. Time for some hot-tub time travel.

Pulling no punches and embracing its absurdity, "Hot Tub" goes tongue-in-cheek with its time-travel motif - poking fun at '80s movies and even Cusack's early work. The result is a clever comedy, though it's inherently stupid. This band of misfits is shamelessly hilarious, if sophomoric.

Corddry in particular, mixing "Frank the Tank" with his brand of offensive brazenness, deserves a place in the Valhalla of comedic lore. Throw in Crispin Glover in a running gag, and there's no breather between laughs.

Sure, the plot has predictable elements, and there's not many highbrow jokes here, but the "Tub" is what a summer comedy should be - one hell of a good time.

"Hot Tub Time Machine"

In Theaters

Grade: A