Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Sebastian Stan, Lyndsy Fonseca, Crispin Glover, Chevy Chase, Charlie McDermott, Lizzy Caplan, Collette Wolfe, Crystal Lowe, Jessica Paré, Kellee Stewart, Julia Maxwell, Geoff Gustafson
Written by: Josh Heald, Sean Anders, John Morris, based on a story by Josh Heald
Directed by: Steve Pink
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language
Running Time: 99
Date: 03/25/2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Woozy Jacuzzi

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Unfortunately modeled after the 2009 smash hit The Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine is raunchier than it needs to be, but it's still very funny and very clever, especially for older viewers who grew up on the many "teen party" movies of the 1980s, and especially those starring John Cusack (Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, etc.).

In 2010, Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry), do not have the lives they once wished for. Divorced, depressed and otherwise unsatisfied, they decide to spend a weekend in an old favorite ski village, accompanied by Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). Climbing in a hot tub, they are magically transported back to a 1986, which was a major turning point in their lives (except for Jacob, who wasn't yet born). There, they each have a choice to walk the same path and not upset the space/time continuum, or to re-do things that felt unfinished, including the decision to dump or not dump an old girlfriend, or stand up to a bully. Are they doomed to repeat their failures, or does the future hold new hope?

Focusing on three old friends who travel back in time from 2010 to a memorable weekend in 1986, the movie goes through the motions of a carefree teen comedy, but with the added weight and perspective of adulthood. The movie is also a postmodern re-evaluation of the entire genre, complete with music, clothing and other artifacts of the era, but viewed through a modern-day lens. The 1980s are seen as both a simpler time, with more personal connection, but also a more superficial time. These ideas are not explored with as much clarity and depth as they could have been -- some of the characters' problems are too easily solved via the use of the time machine -- but the result is still satisfying and entertaining.

Fox's Blu-Ray comes with an extended cut -- running about a minute and a half longer -- as well as the theatrical cut. Extras include some deleted scenes, some promotional featurettes, and trailers.

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