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Hot Tub Time Machine takes us back

March 26, 2010

OXFORD TOWN – There is something to be said for a film that knows not to take itself or its story too seriously. ““Hot Tub Time Machine” is one of those films and takes us back in time with fun 80s movie clichés blended with a time travel story.Thanks to the homage to 80s films, it is hard not to go back to the theater at least twice with friends to see this film, maybe break into song, and to try and catch what you may have missed the first time.

The film stars John Cusack (Adam), Rob Corrdry (Lou), Craig Robinson (Nick) as three friends tired of their life who travel back to 1986 with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). Crispin Glover (most recently of Alice in Wonderland) and Chevy Chase (most recently of Community) have cameos in the film along with Charlie McDermott (star of The Middle).

Traveling through time due to a caffeine drink and bubbles may seem like a silly idea, and yes, it is. But so what? The film is all the more fun for its absurd nature.

The four friends relive a ski vacation that could forever alter their future, particularly for poor Jacob who may cease to exist, if only they can fix what went wrong. In fact the only problem really with the film is the characters denial of embracing the change and trying to follow the same patterns from before. They are at their best when they let things go awry.

From references to TV shows like “Miami Vice,” “Alf,” and “Saturday Night Live,” to nods to “Back to the Future,” “Better off Dead,” and “Sixteen Candles,” the film is chock-full of fun moments to take you back in time with them. Problem is, with the cheaper tricks like massive vomiting scenes, the film seems to be hoping for a younger audience than who really may appreciate the film for its quirky love of the 80s.

But mostly the film works.

Chase and Glover manage to steal screen time with their small but brilliant roles. Robinson, as always with his dead pan comedic genius is at his best when he gives in to his dreams. But completely the film owns most of its most wicked moments to the antics of Corrdry.

The film wants to teach us a lesson but really when it is just being ridiculous is when it is at its height. “Hot Tub Time Machine” lets us take a dip back into the heyday of the 80s while celebrating a more raunchy modern comedy. Maybe it shouldn’t be quite as great as it is, but something about it, just like the silly explanations of the hot tub time machine itself, just works.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is rated R and opens tomorrow in theaters.

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