Three friends on losing streaks: Adam, whose girlfriend dumped him, Nick, with a dead-end job and a cheating wife, and Lou, a suicidal alcoholic. To help Lou recover from car-exhaust poisoning, Adam and Nick, with Adam’s nephew Jacob, go to a winter resort that was their old party place. It’s now a dump, but the lads rally for a night of drinking in the hot tub. Somehow, the hot tub takes them back to 1986, on a fateful night for each of them. Maybe if they do everything the same way they did that night, they’ll get back to the future so Jacob can be born. There are serious temptations to do things differently. Will they make it back to their sorry lives? And what about Jacob?
User Reviews: I’m not sure when it started, but the mix of feigned airheaded and highly sarcastic ‘humor’ dominating most comedy films today is wearing thin on me. It’s laid on so thick in Hot Tub Time Machine, I almost want to give the creators the benefit of the doubt for a scathing parody of the phenomenon, but I can’t quite make myself believe it.
The movie is a fairly cookie cutter back-in-time affair, but unlike most comedy in that vein, this film seems to have a real contempt for its subject matter. Rather than seeking to establish a setting realistic to the 80s era it unfolds in, Hot Tub Time Machine settles for a few hair band soundtrack standards, a few token costume nods and a handful of visual references to the movies of the era. However, there is nothing of the feeling of the time as the film continues along the usual modern trend of screamed obscenity and low brow physical humor. The actors are irrelevant as their cardboard cutout characters never get developed to any significant degree. The story, even if written in parody, is a limp cliché from start to finish. The jokes are tired. Even the soundtrack plays like a 80s party hits template.
This movie ultimately has the feel of a bad idea, badly executed that got reluctantly tossed out for scrap DVD sales. As someone who grew up in the 80s, I didn’t find it even tokenly fun as it really seems to despise its subject matter. On its own merit, it doesn’t even measure as a half-hearted attempt.