Hot Tub Time Machine: John Cusack Escapes From Middle Age to the Glorious '80s

A fundamentally lazy comedy that will probably make you laugh like an idiot, HTTM was ostensibly directed by Steve Pink. But it was really born from the collective unconscious of the 34–45 demographic—the viewers for whom the movie will deliver the most reliable pleasure, as they tease out the embedded references to Sixteen Candles, Revenge of the Nerds, and Better Off Dead. Though the sweetness and cheer of its inspirations is, by the strictures of contemporary R-rated comedy, supplemented with violence, barfing, and hate-fucking, it's still a funny, worthwhile tribute to an era of filmmaking that will not live long in the annals of cinema. Sad-sack friends Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (a standout Craig Robinson), and Adam (John Cusack) head to the mountains where, 24 years ago, they had an epic weekend; soon, via the eponymous plot device, they're young again at "Winterfest '86," an absurd wonderland of lime-green ski suits, casual sex, and Nagel prints. HTTM pays homage to the essential disposability of '80s entertainment, while also using its own faithful cruddiness as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Important plot points get glossed over; scenes are cut together clumsily; it features the least-convincing skiing shots ever committed to film. But as long as you're the sort of viewer who will derive pleasure from the simple onscreen credit "and introducing William Zabka"—it'll work.

 
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