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Capone goes in over his head with the marvelously silly HOT TUB TIME MACHINE!!!

Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here. Sometimes you admire a comedy because of its subtle wit and cleverness, because it keeps a sustained smile on your face that lasts the duration of the film. Other times, you fall head over heals for a comedy because it is balls-out the perfect combination of stupidity and intelligence, with a healthy serving of charm thrown in and a dash of the grotesque. Welcome to HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, folks, a movie that almost dares you not to giggle your way into a frothy stupor. What put this film over the top for me was its complete and utter disregard not only for conventional logic and sensibility, but the film actually bothers to set up its own time-space continuum rules and then breaks them with a wanton disregard for the Butterfly Effect. On the plus side, TIME COP's essential rule about the same person from two different times occupying the same space is cited and dealt with quite effectively. But for God's sake, this isn't a movie about science; it's about partying '80s style, and who better to do that with than John Cusack? First off, let's take a look at HOT TUB TIME MACHINE's genealogy. Director Steve Pink was a co-writer of two of Cusack's best post-brat pack works, GROSSE POINTE BLANK and HIGH FIDELITY. He also directed the underrated college comedy ACCEPTED. His history with Cusack clearly works to our advantage here, since the one-time Hoops McCann, Bryce from SIXTEEN CANDLES, and Lloyd Dobler seems willing and comfortable embracing and mocking his '80s past for the first time ever. At one point, I'm pretty sure the younger version of the HOT TUB character Adam is wearing a familiar-looking trench coat. The screening play is credit to newcomer Josh Heald, Sean Anders (writer of this week's SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE and writer-director of SEX DRIVE), and John Morris (also a co-writer of LEAGUE and SEX DRIVE). What I loved about the screenplay is that it meshes the debauchery with actual lessons about standing up for yourself, friendship, and following you dreams without getting lost in any level of sentimental nonsense. But HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is a selfish creature, one that only truly cares about you if you're laughing, and so it goes out of its way and mind to make sure you're doing just that. The story is about three guys who have been friends since high school--Cusack's Adam; Craig Robinson as the responsible, married Nick; and Rob Corddry as party deviant Lou. I need to say that this is the first film where Corddry knocks it the fuck out of the park. This is as much an on-screen breakthrough for him as Zach Galifianakis' turn in THE HANGOVER, although this is a very different character. I've endured him being wasted in movie after movie since he left “The Daily Show,” often reduced to overacting and yelling as a substitute for actual humor. But as adult-slacker Lou, Corddry hits his stride and plays him with a perfect balance of abandon and utter control of his gifts as a comic actor. I certainly don't mean to leave out the Robinson, who is the portrait of restraint and underplaying his part for maximum effect. He's so good here, you almost miss it. Nick is always concerned about cheating on his wife, but when the guys realize that in order not to mess up the continuum, they have to do exactly what they did in the '80s, he remembers that he got laid. Oh, the angst and guilt! But I'm getting ahead of myself. The “story” of HOT TUB TIME MACHINE involves the three friends deciding--after Lou may or may not have attempted to kill himself--that they need to revisit the old ski lodge where they used to party in high school. Today, the place is a rundown pit, but in the '80s, the place was hopping. They are forced to drag Adam's nerdy nephew Jacob (the effortlessly funny Clark Duke, also from SEX DRIVE and the upcoming KICK-ASS) along with them, and although the lodge is a mess, Lou decides that some booze, drugs, and hookers will fix that right up. They decide to warm up the hot tub on the back porch, and after a night of heavy partying, a weird alcoholic concoction is spilled into the controls, which some how turns this hot tub into a spinning, wormhole-opening vortex that sends them back to a very specific date in the 1980s, one that featured events that forever changed their worlds and paved the way for their dissatisfied lives. As a longtime John Cusack fan, I have to say how pleased I was to see cut loose a little and acknowledge the era that made him a star. I like the idea that the people in the ‘80s see these four travelers as they were at the time and now how they look today. Well, except for Clark Duke’s character, who wasn’t even born when these events took place, but whose very existence seems to somehow hinge on the events that occurred on that fateful weekend. But don’t think about it too hard or it might hurt your brain. The details aren’t important here. There are some nice running side gags that keep HOT TUB flowing, such as Crispin Glover as the angry, one-armed bellhop in the present (and happy two-armed bellhop in the past). His character is one big, funny waiting game. I also liked Lizzy Kaplan as a music journalist at the resort, there to cover a Poison performance, who runs into Adam. (Sidenote: I have never been more willing to listen to a soundtrack that consists almost entirely of Poison and Motley Crue tunes.) The two click, but since they never met in the past, Adam is pretty sure he shouldn’t be spending time with her. Instead, he and other guys focus on recreating events of the past. The things is, straying from what has already happened is just too much fun. Chevy Chase is tossed into the mix as the hot tub repairman, who seems to know how to fix it and get the boys back to the present day. What had me rolling almost from the first time jaunt is that HOT TUB TIME MACHINE sets up certain rules and parameters, and then seems to say, “Fuck it! Let’s do what makes us drunk and gives us boners!” Despite its many differences, the movie has a similar cavalier attitude about time travel that the BILL & TED movies did. The film turns idiotic behavior into an art form, foulness into an asset, and debauchery into an Olympic sport. If you’re not having fun while you’re watching this movie, please call your physician immediately and have that pole removed from your ass. It’s so much fun watching this group of actors simply give themselves over to the ridiculousness of it all; and I readily and happily did the same. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE opens March 26.
-- Capone Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • March 9, 2010, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Seeing it tonight in Houston...

    by Robnhud

    .... can't wait!

  • March 9, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST


    by phillipisking

    You went through the whole review without mentioning Back to the Future... and Crispin Glover is in this! Can't wait!!

  • March 9, 2010, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Whatever happened, happened

    by turketron_2

    Glad to know this movie is good, I'm kind of interested in seeing it but don't know if I really want to pony up the dough to see it in a theater. We'll see.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST

    I attended this with Capone...

    by oJAEflo

    ...and he is dead on with everything awesome about this movie. Corddry ruled it, but the whole thing was a hilarious blast. Can't wait to get this on Blu-Ray! Thanks, Capone!

  • March 9, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Available on DVD?

    by DangerDave

    I will wait until then...and have a 6pack ready.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Dang....I am not alone.

    by DangerDave

    Who wants to come over to my basement dwelling and watching with me?

  • March 9, 2010, 2:33 p.m. CST

    This is exactly right.

    by SkeletonParty

    They nailed it.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:35 p.m. CST


    by MC_DLyte

    4. Hot Tub Time Machine 3-D This might be the best Time Traveling movie ever that I love so much. Time Travel is something I think about a lot because one time I saw myself walking past the cinema and I was like oh shit I built a time machine in the future and came back to walk past me so that I can get the motivation to build a time machine so that I can go back and walk past me at the cinema and do other sweet shit I am positive. I tell people this and they ask what other kind of sweet shit? And I say I am going to go back and write all the best movies like Summer School and Predator and Kickboxer and make 2 million dollars and put it in a bank account to have 5 million dollars now and also write some songs like Ice Cube's Go to Church and Bryan Adams We're in Heaven. So when I see time traveling movies and the charactors never do this I am like "this is so unrealistic" but thismovie does it and so Oscar for best screenwriting goes to them.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST

    "on that faithful weekend."

    by SkeletonParty

    I believe the word you are looking for is "fateful."

  • March 9, 2010, 2:39 p.m. CST

    You did mean to say "Fateful" weekend?

    by visceralgristle


  • March 9, 2010, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Midnight screenings of the Un-Rated version would

    by Vulcan_CSC_Rep

    Double most of these great off-the-wall movies' weekend box offices.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST

    I'm not resting until someone on this site...

    by Sailor Rip

    ...tells me why there was not a single Cop Out review. We all know why but I want to hear you say it.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Yeah, they did not review Cop Out.

    by fiester

    Curious since they tend to review everything.

  • March 9, 2010, 2:59 p.m. CST

    When does this hit theatres?

    by Mike_D

    cant find it

  • March 9, 2010, 3 p.m. CST

    This review is pretty accurate.


    I can't wait to see the movie again.

  • March 9, 2010, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Must be said

    by Riff_Randell

    Cusack was never a member of the Brat Pack. So why should you even mention it?

  • March 9, 2010, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Tru Dat, Riff

    by Aquatarkusman

    Also, how does a movie about skiing in the 80s starring John Cusack not at least merit a reference to Better Off Dead?

  • March 9, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    On that faithful weekend

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    I read the screening play for Hot Tub Time Machine. Did Capone write this right after he woke up?

  • March 9, 2010, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Really didn't care for Corddry

    by wes

    He had a few lines and moments I enjoyed, but overall I still didn't care for him, the rest of the movie rocked though.

  • March 9, 2010, 3:49 p.m. CST

    What's this movie about?

    by Squashua

    Some kind of hot tub time machine?

  • March 9, 2010, 3:51 p.m. CST

    RE: COP OUT review

    by Capone

    This has been addressed in different Talkbacks, but for those who didn't see them, allow me repeat. They didn't do an advanced screening in Austin, which is why Harry and Quint didn't review; and the Chicago screening conflicted with another screening of what I believed (correctly) would be a better movie. I have seen COP OUT and deem it shit beyond shit. There, there's your review.

  • March 9, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST

    For once, I agree with Capone

    by greyspecter

    Did we really need a review to tell that Cop Out was as entertaining as food poisoning? And probably worse for one's health?

  • March 9, 2010, 4:30 p.m. CST

    erm.. do they pay you Capone?

    by Ray Gamma

    ...a spell/grammar/syntax check might be an idea. or a proof-reader.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Shit beyond shit? Nice review.

    by V'Shael

    I tend to think Kevin was saddled with a turkey script, myself. I don't know if it helped him as a director, but I think it hurt his rep in a way that Mallrats never did.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    I assume Kevin Smith did Cop Out for the cash?

    by Mahaloth

    I mean, who can blame him? I guess.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:45 p.m. CST

    So because you don't get an advance screening in AUSTIN no one r

    by reflecto

    Austin, modern-day Shangri-La? Better yet, who wants to bet they didn't want to touch it after the 12-hour circle jerk/mental collapse that was the Kevin Smith Q&A several months ago. Bad form, guys.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Hopefully the one you saw

    by Series7

    Had the Lets Get It Started in Here part out. Man that was awful. This movie is half funny half miss, but it moves along at such a brief pace that you don't mind the jokes that don't work. Save for the Lets Get it Started in Here, they could've picked a MUCH MUCH funnier song. Shit they could've even done Retarded In Here and it may have worked.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:53 p.m. CST

    @Mahaloth : No, he took a pay cut for this actually.

    by V'Shael

    He says this was his lowest pay cheque since Dogma. From what he's said elsewhere, he took this because it was offered to him after he left Miramax (after the Zack and Miri fiasco). <p> Thing is, the guy who offered it to him had had some bad-blood type run in with Kevin years previous. Had it been me, I would have questioned whether I was being given a live hand grenade or not. But Smitty seems to have lapped it up like it was his wives bunghole.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Sean Anders

    by Series7

    Wrote and directed NBT: Never Been Thawed, everyone go out and rent this now. Its the second best mockementary to Best In Show (third if you really like Spinal Tap). But it makes fun of comic book collectors and everyone else, its great (and better then Hot Tub). But Hot Tub is fun, but HUNT THAT MOVIE DOWN!

  • March 9, 2010, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Cusack should make Con Air 2

    by umbral_shadow_

    That's his one movie that I really enjoyed. Don't get me wrong, he's a good actor but I hate most of his films.

  • March 9, 2010, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Red Skull has won!! John Krasinski IS Captain America

    by theDannerDaliel

  • March 9, 2010, 5 p.m. CST

    Rob Corddry was ok in this

    by Series7

    Problem is that he isn't likeable like Zack and Will Farrell, so he comes off as just an a-hole. Go see The Legend of Bobby Dukes for great Rob Corddry.

  • March 9, 2010, 5:14 p.m. CST

    What's the problem? My post didn't go through

    by greyspecter

    As I said, bite your tongue Danner! Please tell me you're joking.

  • March 9, 2010, 5:39 p.m. CST

    anytime Crispin Glover does comedy

    by vin_diggler

    Then I am there!

  • March 9, 2010, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Head over Heals?

    by theBigE

    Ooh Ooh - I want to criticize spelling and grammar too! <p> Thanks for the review, warts and all. Sounds like a good time at the movies!

  • March 9, 2010, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Really looking forward to this movie, it looks hilarious.

    by SoylentMean

    Hopefully it is. Also, Sex Drive was fuckin' fantastic.

  • March 9, 2010, 6:25 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Dude, I know people have been obnoxious about Cop Out reviews (most likely just one guy) but for better or worse AICN is built on the backbones of nerds. Kevin Smith is a nerd darling people love and people love to hate. You guys promoted the crap out of this movie and then there are no reviews for it but we'll get reviews of movies like Remember Me which the majority of the readership here aren't going to go see. I don't know what the pay is like and I don't know what your lives consist of day jobs, families, school, ect but would it kill at least one of you guys to pay for a movie every once and a while and post a review? Even if it's day of or that weekend, people here are as concerned with advanced reviews as they are about the points of view from the contributors. You guys know better than to ignore movies of nerd interest and it would save you guys a lot of hate mongering that gets thrown your way.

  • March 9, 2010, 6:28 p.m. CST


    by Bloo

    Zach and Miri was actually a Weinstein production I believe. Miramax didn't have anything to do with it.<P>but you're right he did take a paycut and has defended the movie quite a bit on twitter. I've never been so disappointed in a Kevin Smith movie.

  • March 9, 2010, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by Kirkunit

    "He's an asshole. But, he's our asshole." I saw it at a sneak preview last night. Very funny, but don't think about it too hard. Also *spoiler* I'm almost certain the sweep-the-leg kid from Karate Kid, Back to School, etc. is in it. He plays pretty much the same character from those movies, but with a mustache.

  • March 9, 2010, 6:41 p.m. CST

    This does look decent

    by TheMandrakeRoot

    The four main actors are all pretty funny, so this definitely has potential. But even if this is only decent we all know AICN is jerking off to this movie and will give it nothing but the most over-praised reviews. Every so often a comedy comes out that every AICN reviewer gushes over and is seemingly afraid to say a bad thing about it, and these comedies usually turn out pretty mediocre. Here's hoping they're right this time around.

  • March 9, 2010, 7:03 p.m. CST

    thanks for the honesty cap

    by Waka_Flocka

  • March 9, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST

    I felt the Crispin Glover joke

    by Series7

    Was really forced. They could've done more with him. How is it McG has gotten the best performance out of Crispin Glover since probably Back To the Future.

  • March 9, 2010, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Who are the ad wizards...

    by wampa 1

    ...that came up with this one?

  • March 9, 2010, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Better than the Hangover


    Despite the shiteous spoiler heavy commercials, this movie kicked the Hangover into the kiddie pool

  • March 9, 2010, 8:12 p.m. CST


    by Kief_Ledger

    Capone, you're from Chicago, right? I'm sure Ebert did a review of Cop Out and whatever movie you claim had a screening at the same time. In other words, I don't believe you.

  • March 9, 2010, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Tina Fey is on drugs

    by The_Maltese_Vulcan

    Thinking this one act Tracy Morgan dude can actually play anything other than his annoying asshole self. And Bruce Willis must need a new boat and has absolutely no respect left for his career. Seriously Bruce, think "Unbreakable II" It's that or Daddy Day Care 3.

  • March 9, 2010, 8:22 p.m. CST

    And Bruce, Put "Sixth Element" on the table too.

    by The_Maltese_Vulcan

  • March 9, 2010, 8:38 p.m. CST

    No one wants to see your giant shit, Lou!

    by Rectal Blowout

  • March 9, 2010, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Kief, Ebert tends to get his OWN screenings.

    by Lenny Nero

    Often, he's alone at them. He has THAT much pull.

  • March 9, 2010, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Cop Out was'nt that bad

    by MST3KPIMP

    seriously. it had some pretty funny shit and great soundtrack "I mean they played Eric B & Rakim for christs sake!" Shaun William Scott stole every scene he was in and there were some big laughs. Ok there was alot of stuff that fell flat but it was an interesting experiment for Kevin.

  • March 9, 2010, 10:18 p.m. CST

    why the fuck do people like Ron Coddry

    by redkamel

    He sucks balls. He's never funny. He either looks mean, or acts like an ass. Even on the daily show thats he came off. I can't even think of a Ron Corddry BIT.

  • March 9, 2010, 10:41 p.m. CST

    your moms box

    by Waka_Flocka

    your insults fall flat when you fail to spell retarded correctly

  • March 9, 2010, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Saw it early

    by lfhlaw

    I by no means really dig deep into movies and I watch them for entertainment and this movie entertained me and made me laugh my ass off. It's been a long time since a movie kept the laughs coming. Are there slow bits, yeah, but the movie is pretty consistent through out. Cape should have mentioned the running gag with gloves but left it at that. cuz that is the funniest !#$! in a long time.

  • March 9, 2010, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Loved it

    by Rev. Artemis Prime

    Just saw Hot tub and laughed my ass off. Just a good ole fun flick

  • March 10, 2010, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Capone, "head over heals"

    by Immortal_Fish

    Cleric calisthenics?

  • March 10, 2010, 12:48 a.m. CST

    Good grief, CAPONE!!

    by Immortal_Fish

    -you admire a comedy<P> -subtle wit and cleverness<P> -keeps a sustained smile on your face<P> -lasts the duration of the film<P> -you fall head over heals for a comedy<P> -it is balls-out the perfect combination of stupidity and intelligence<P> -a healthy serving of charm thrown in<P> -a dash of the grotesque<P> -Welcome to HOT TUB TIME MACHINE<P> -almost dares you not to giggle<P> -into a frothy stupor<P> -What put this film over the top for me<P> -conventional logic and sensibility<P> -On the plus side<P> -it's about partying '80s style<P> -who better to do that with than John Cusack?<P>...<P>...<P>...<P>FUCKING PLAAAANNT!!

  • March 10, 2010, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but who gets naked?

    by gun_will_travel

    A review is not complete unless it includes detailed descriptions of the T&A.

  • March 10, 2010, 3:14 a.m. CST


    by HercThinksEntourageIsBetterThanArrestedDevelopment

    I like all the people involved. I just don't think they're very funny in the trailers. I'm not spending $10 on a glorified SNL sketch.

  • March 10, 2010, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Crispin Glover story

    by TheBoyFromUlster

    Apparently on Back to the future Kathleen Kennedy said that Crispin Glover was a nightmare, one of the stories was that in the Diner scene he kept changing his hair during takes. When they told him to keep it combed down for continuality he responded thats how Brando does it! Also the producers tried to get him back for the sequels but his pay demands were ridiculous for where he was at as an actor at that time so they told him to fuck off.....

  • March 10, 2010, 8:30 a.m. CST


    by Series7

    Go watch the restricted trailer, that chick and one other one thats trying to set up a three way with Rob and that still born looking kid, I think that was Crystal Lowe. And there are some spliced in flashes during the drunken time travel spining montage.

  • March 10, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST

    @BoyfromUlster : According to the DVD

    by V'Shael

    they didn't say Fuck Off, they said come back with a serious offer in 2 weeks, or we'll assume you're not interested. He didn't budge, so they went without him. It wasn't quite a "fuck off" rejection.

  • March 10, 2010, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Hahah Crispin Glover was in some Donor Party

    by Series7

    Movie last year, may need to check that out. NOW RELEASE YOUR MOVIES ON DVD you weirdo!

  • March 10, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    "Lloyd, Lloyd all null and void..."

    by DoctorWho?

    Cusack is great as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Hot Tub looks great but I get burned bby comedies all the time. We'll see.

  • March 10, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    was at the chicago screening

    by bluetunehead

    laughed my ass off. i found this to be a lot funnier than hangover, which i felt was overrated. all of the 80s movie references killed me.<br><br>and to Aquatarkusman, the better off dead references are there in the movie.

  • March 10, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    "Tina Fey is on drugs..."

    by DoctorWho?

    "...Thinking this one act Tracy Morgan dude can actually play anything other than his annoying asshole self."<p> Spot on Vulcan! WTF. This guy has about 2 minutes left on his ride on the success train if there is any justice in the world. <p> If you find this guy funny and/or charismatic in anyway please post and enlighten me as to why. Seriously...give me SOMETHING! I would be fascinated to know how this guy appeals to one's sense of humor on any level.

  • March 10, 2010, 9:57 a.m. CST

    This movie is GREAT

    by Cajunsblues

    I have seen it 2 times already, thank you multiple screeing places. Just as funny the 2nd time. Its just a movie to make you laugh. And if you dont, go see Napoleon Dynamite again.

  • March 10, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Does the black guy get laid

    by Hipshot

    Onscreen? Or is it "suggested offscreen"? Either way, I'm sick of white comedies like "Couple's Retreat" where the single black character is fat, or "Tropic Thunder" where he is gay. Can't be sexual competition...too threatening to the audience, perhaps?

  • March 10, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    waa waa

    by evil dead 3d

    the black guy wants to get laid see what happens, first you let him live to the end of the movie, and now see what happens?

  • March 10, 2010, 3:09 p.m. CST

    and by the way hipshot

    by evil dead 3d

    the black guy gets hella laid in Black Dynamite, onscreen and with amazing hot girls of EVERY HUE, guess you have to go forwards to go back (strike that, reverse it)

  • March 10, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Could not disagree more

    by Heckles

    HTTM was mediocre at best. Saw it last month. The laughs were strained, forced, and infrequent. I don't know if it was bad editing or the story didn't have enough to fill out 90 minutes, but it lagged in several parts. The characters were running around seemingly finding shit to do. Seemed like a wasted trip back in time. Cleveland Browns fans will be happy for a minute, I'm sure. <br><br>Cop Out was categorically better.

  • March 10, 2010, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by bluetunehead

    black dude gets laid on screen. he's the only one who does in this movie.

  • March 10, 2010, 6:38 p.m. CST


    by bluetunehead

    part of that scene is in the restricted trailer

  • March 11, 2010, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Black Dynamite

    by Hipshot

    Look at that movie again. There is no shot of Dynamite actually with those women. There are separate shots of him, and then then, edited together during the "sex scene."