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Thursday, April 1, 2010 03:09 am

Hot Tub is lukewarm

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Sometimes a movie peaks too soon and doesn’t live up to its potential. Hot Tub Time Machine reaches its zenith with its title, a smart/stupid high-concept idea that promises fun with a bit of intelligence, which it delivers during its first half hour. Unfortunately, the script gets bogged down with too much talk, leaving this laugh machine to lurch about in fits and starts.

When they fear their buddy Lou (Rob Corddry) has attempted suicide, Adam (John Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson) take him to a ski lodge they frequented in their youth, along with Adam’s video-game-playing nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke). Upon arriving, they realize the resort has seen better days, however there’s one upgrade – a hot tub – that doubles as a time machine. This quartet takes a trip to the past where they find themselves as teenagers. While Adam and Nick are careful to repeat all they did so as not to disrupt the future, Lou is less married to the idea and acts with reckless abandon.

If you have fond memories of the 1980s, the film will prove to be a fun walk down memory lane. Though uneven, when the movie is funny, it’s very funny, never moreso than when Lou makes a bet that goes horribly wrong. A running gag with a bellman (Crispin Glover) who has a horrendous accident waiting for him in the future, delivers each time. However, scenes in which Adam agonizes over his life, moments in which Chevy Chase appears as a mysterious repairman and a subplot involving the identity of Jacob’s father slow things down. Some of it works; some of it doesn’t. Whether you end up liking the film depends on if you think a squirrel being drenched in projectile vomit is funny. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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