In Theaters: Hot Tub Time Machine

Movieline Score: 7

To paraphrase Jason London's character in Dazed and Confused, "All I'm saying is, if I ever start referring to these as the best movies of my life -- remind me to kill myself." With Hot Tub Time Machine, director Steve Pink manages to connect self-conscious cinematic nostalgia to the middle-aged anomie London warns against with rowdy affection, avoiding the trap of earnest emulation that Cop Out, its recent comrade in homage, fell into. A fully committed spoof of the high concept, factory-farmed comedies of the 80s, Hot Tub goes under some pretty deep cover, glossing over big plot and pacing bumps with its proudly cruddy, in-joke attitude. Produced by a high priest of 80s effluvia (and a couple of genuine classics), John Cusack confirms his imprimatur by starring in the film. One of its genuine pleasures is watching him once again balance seriously generic, frankly sophomoric material with his sober wit and goofy, shaggy grace.

Adam (Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry) believe adolescence really was the best years of their lives, at least compared to those that followed. We find them respectively sloughing off the decampment of yet another girlfriend, fishing lost objects out of the rear-end of a Golden Retriever, and making what seems to be an alcoholic suicide attempt to the musical accompaniment of Motley Crüe. Middle-aged men who have drifted apart due to both the rigors of domestication and the realization that they may not actually like each other anymore, the highly toxic Lou "The Violator"'s hospitalization results in a plan to try and relive happier days at Kodiak Valley, a ski resort of the trio's youth. Accompanying them is a doughy ambassador of the youth of today, Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), a game- and gadget-obsessed virgin whose hatred for hard-living Lou is only matched by what he gets in return.

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  • HwoodHills says:

    This thing is looking (knock wood) like the long over-due, comedy fun time movie-goers have been looking for for awhile now.

  • raincoaster says:

    I'm with you. SO there.
    My DVD of Big Trouble in Little China is nearly worn out. Mama needs some more "good crazy buddy movie" material for the shelf.