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Blu-ray Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

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Written by Caballero Oscuro

Hot Tub Time Machine succeeds at truth in advertising, giving viewers exactly what the title describes. There's no high concept or subterfuge here, just a clearly if ridiculously crafted idea carried through to a mostly satisfying end. You may wonder how this project ever got a green light, but you'll likely be laughing along the way.

When a 40-ish loser attempts suicide, his two closest friends and a tagalong nephew try to cheer him up by taking him on vacation to the site of their greatest early exploits. That ski resort was a bustling hive of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll in their college days, but has now turned into a virtual ghost town with broken-down accommodations and residents. The guys determine to make the best of it anyway, and leap at the chance to enjoy the inviting hot tub outside their room. Through the magic of energy drinks and extreme suspension of disbelief, the guys end up back in the '80s and get to experience the highs of their prime one last time.

The film scores a coup with the casting of John Cusack as the lead, sending him and his buds back to the era of '80s comedies where he first became a star. It's amusing just to see the now-mature Cusack go gaga at the silly '80s fashion, music, and attitudes he encounters on his trip through time, knowing that he was once a part of documenting and defining the era in his early days.

The rest of the lesser-known leads must have been pinching themselves every day wondering how they were fortunate enough to share nearly equal billing with Cusack. Of the three, Rob Corddry (The Daily Show) contributes the biggest laughs as the suicidal loser stuck in the past, while Clark Duke (Greek) and Craig Robinson (The Office) are largely just along for the ride.

There's no discernible reason to watch this film on Blu-ray, in fact the image quality of the film might discourage viewers from doing so. It's a distractingly grainy picture for some reason, and with no stellar sound design either it's likely that the reduced fidelity of DVD may actually help to mask the film's low quality.

That's not to say the Blu is a total waste, as it includes both the theatrical and unrated cuts of the film on one disc along with a fine array of special features including deleted/extended scenes and featurettes about the production, costumes, and co-stars Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover.

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