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'Hot Tub Time Machine' points out the ridiculousness of the 1980's

By Jim Ausanio, Business Manager

The 1980's were a very interesting time in American history. There was the abundance of cocaine, the terrible fashion and the fact that the decade was just downright unpleasant. That being said, it makes it the perfect decade to revisit to point out its sheer ridiculousness, which is exactly what the new film "Hot Tub Time Machine" sets out to do.

The movie stars John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry as a group of friends reunited after Coddry's character's apparent suicide attempt. In hopes of lifting his spirits the guys decide to head out to Kodiak Mountain, a ski resort and party haven from when they were younger, in order to recapture the good times. Accompanying the group is Cusack's 20-year-old slacker nephew played by Clark Duke, whose reason for accompanying them on the trip is never made quite clear.

Upon arrival at Kodiak Mountain, the group learns that the place where they had once gone for good times has now become a ghost town with seemingly nothing to do. All hope of a fun night seems lost, until the guys are ‘magically' drawn to the now working hot tub outside of their room. What ensues is brought about by heavy drinking, an illegal Russian energy drink and a squirrel, which worked together to send these men back to the year 1986. They inhabit their younger bodies but have full knowledge of what is going to happen to them. From there, they must decide whether or not to take the same actions that did in the past, or try for a better future.

At times, the film at times focuses a bit too heavily on the clichés of the ‘80's, occasionally at the expense of the younger audience, which the film appeals to. This is a bit of a waste since the people who grew up in that era would have no interest in seeing the film, unless it was for nostalgia sake. Both age groups however will enjoy references to the widely known ‘80's comedies such as "Sixteen Candles" and "Back to the Future." It is also important not to get too caught up in the mechanics of their time travel, or the impact of traveling in the past. The filmmakers did not worry a great deal about making the movie scientifically accurate, instead focusing more on the humor.

Although "Hot Tub Time Machine" has its fair share of flaws, it delivers exactly what the viewer wants: mindless comedy. If the movie had any other title, they might not have been able to get away with how ridiculous and overtop it is, which is the reason why it works so well. It constantly tows the line between being a spoof film of ‘80's movies and being a gross out comedy free of any constraints. The movie does have redeeming qualities other than the fact that it is over the top, because at its heart it's a buddy comedy that never takes itself too seriously. It is very easy for anyone to relate to a group of friends trying to have a good time, and recapture the days of when they were young. Even deep in the bowels of the 1980's, "Hot Tub Time Machine" proves to be a good buddy comedy regardless of the decade.

            

From left ( Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

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