Last year, The Hangover grossed over $277 million, which put it comfortably in the top 10 annual money-makers. This made Warner Brothers very happy – so happy, in fact, that they decided to start production on The Hangover 2, and get that money train rolling again.
Seeing the success over at WB, I can only speculate that MGM decided that they should try and get their piece of the pie by creating a film with the same sort of humour, aimed at the same sort of audience, filled with the same sort of characters. Only set in the 80s. Surely, completely ripping off the formula will result in the same level of success!
Four friends, (well, three friends and a nephew), go on a trip to a resort that, back in their younger years, was a place of guaranteed sex, drugs, and yes, rock and roll. But much has changed at their favourite ski resort, which has now turned into more of a destination where old people come to die. But it’s not all bad – at least their room has a hot tub – and after a late night of boozing in the titular hot tub, the band of friends wake up as their former selves, back in 1986. From there, the story is a crossover of retro jokes and the familiar time-travel narrative of trying to right past wrongs and reset the future.
To be completely fair, Hot Tub does occasionally try and go its own way, attempting to bring ironic, self-aware humour to the table. It knows it’s a cheesy raunch-fest and it wants you to know it knows. From the direct look into the camera at the name-dropping of the movie title, to a continual sight gag involving a future armless Crispin Glover, Hot Tub isn’t taking itself too seriously and much of the humour in the film stems from that fact alone.
Still, it’d be a hard sell to convince me that people will remember this thing a year from now.
Despite its best efforts, Hot Tub Time Machine is the result of throwing The Hangover and The Wedding Singer into a hot tub, turning the heat on high, and then pouring the congealed, pulpy leftovers into…alright, I just grossed myself out. The point is, Hot Tub Time Machine is nothing new, and like last week’s Repo Men, it’s the sum of different parts of better movies before it.
That doesn’t mean you won’t laugh through a good portion of the ridiculousness on screen, it just means that you better be a fan of vomit, piss and faux-semen. The film is good enough for a single-serving laugh, but will never be considered among the ranks of other guy-adventure movies like Old School or The Hangover.
Hot Tub Time Machine is about as silly as the name would suggest, and whether that’s a good or bad thing is completely up to you.