GENRE: Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble
THIE PITCH: Three estranged friends, Adam, Lou and Nick (John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson), try to reconnect through a booze- and energy-drink-fueled hot tub rave. They cause a rupture in the space-time continuum, and the three, along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), get sent back to 1986. Think Back to the Future meets A Christmas Carol on cocaine.
MONEY SHOTS: A shitcanned Lou, aka the Violator, air jams Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” as it plays on the radio in his car. His moves include some dashboard piano playing and tossing an air drumstick and catching it. The group arrives at the once grand Silver Peak Lodge, which is now filled with hobo look-alikes and feral cats. The deck doors in their room blow open in a blaze of light to reveal a hot bubbling tub where hours before sat a rusty hole with a dead fox in it. A vertigo-inducing hot tub party montage. The three friends confront their teenage selves and hairstyles together in front of the bathroom mirror. Adam takes a fork to the eyebrow in a bloody break-up scene. The list could go on … the movie is essentially a series of money shots.
BEST LINES: “Put him in a body bag, Blaine!” shouts one of the ski patrol jocks in a nod to The Karate Kid. “The great white buffalo” is the phrase used to describe the ultimate, unattainable woman. It’s whispered reverently and usually repeated three to four times whenever it’s brought up.
CAMEOS: Thomas Lennon, aka Lt. Dangle from "Reno 911," appears early on as a dog owner at Nick’s canine care shop, ’Sup Dawg. Chevy Chase is a cryptic soothsaying hot tub time machine repairman. Crispin Glover plays an ornery one-armed bellhop. In 1986, however, he still has both arms. The guys watch and wait through a series of events that threaten the limb, including chainsaw juggling and an elevator mishap.
FASHION STATEMENTS: Neon-colored skiwear is a must on the slopes of Kodiak Valley. Nick wears red, full-body long johns their first morning back in 1986. In general, the film is a visual onslaught of ’80s trends that makes American Apparel look like J. Crew.
MP3-TO-BE: Nick, an aspiring singer/musician in his younger days, performs “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield and the yet-to-be released “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas. The soundtrack is full of too many ’80s hits to mention.
I LOVE THE ’80S: The initial lodge shot looks like the VH1 show come to life: Various TVs play Eddie Murphy’s “Celebrity Hot Tub Party” "SNL," "Alf," Ronald Reagan, and David Bowie proclaiming, “I want my MTV.” A sign promotes a Poison concert that evening. A woman sports a bright yellow “Where’s the beef?” tee. Adam and his love interest, April (Lizzy Caplan), share a cross-legged, tabletop kiss between two candles à la Sixteen Candles.
THE BOTTOM LINE: This movie looks like it should be terrible, but it turns out to be as funny as you’d hoped it would be. John Cusack’s presence is predictably forgettable, but Rob Corddry keeps the energy and the comedy bubbling for the duration of the film.