The film laboriously takes all the characters through their objectives. It’s not all that interesting for the characters to have to literally relive their past (looking like their young selves it’s revealed when they look in the mirror), with Jacob uselessly tagging along. It would have been much more fun for them to just have traveled back in time in a fish out of water type story. Jacob’s unfamiliarity with the past is barely utilized at all. Surely he could have gotten himself into some funny situations with the time period.
The movie never realizes its full potential. It doesn’t push the humor far enough and it does very little with the idea of regret and the wish to change the past. Adam has always regretted breaking up with his sex-obsessed girlfriend, Nick always wanted to be a musician but ended up a dog groomer, and Lou just wants to be happy. While I wasn’t looking for conventional, I was looking for something. It could have been something hilarious, something touching, something as out of the ordinary as a hot tub that’s really a time machine, but instead it was all just kind of empty.
Hot Tub Time Machine is a movie that seems to want to be The Hangover in the '80s. It wants to be about three guys finding themselves and learning about life while having a raucous good time, and it could have been all of those things if it had just worked a little harder. The DVD features both the theatrical and unrated versions of the movie. The unrated version being only four minutes longer adds a little more crude humor but not much else. The DVD also contains deleted scenes and the original theatrical trailer.