Hot Tub Time Machine (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

No, that’s not a typo. Someone actually sat down and wrote the screenplay for a film entitled “Hot Tub Time Machine.” And to be totally honest, the movie itself isn’t nearly as bad ad the name would (and did) imply. Still, with all the remakes, comic book adaptations and whatnot coming out on a weekly basis it is nice to see a totally “original” movie hit the screens. While the movie might be regarded as a knockoff of “The Hangover”, I felt it worked. And, let’s face it, when watching a movie by the name of “Hot Tub Time Machine” (yes, I’m going to type out that title several times during this review), how seriously can you really take it? The cast is somewhat offbeat as well with no true “big names” in the leads save for John Cusack, ironically who got his start in teen comedies back in the mid-80’s. I’m sure this was taken into account when he was cast for the lead role. Craig Robinson of TV’s “The Office” takes center stage as well with some familiar faces in the supporting roles. So what’s “Hot Tub Time Machine” all about? Well, a little more than you’d think.

Adam (John Cusack) is in the process of going through a nasty divorce. His wife has left him and taken all of his earthly possessions. He’s got his nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke) living in the basement playing video games 24 hours a day. Contrast that with Nick (Craig Robinson), a former singer of a band who’s now working at ?Sup Dawg retrieving various items out of the back ends of dogs (I’ll leave the details of that to the film itself). And then we’ve got Lou (Rob Corddry), who’s just been sent to the hospital for an attempted suicide. Life didn’t exactly turn out the way these guys wanted to, so when the four decide to get away for a weekend at their old ski lodge hangout, things go from bad to worse. The four decide to drink everything in sight, end up in a hot tub and then, well, in the year 1986. They look the same to one another, but to everyone else they appear as they did a quarter of a century ago. Their challenge is to repeat history so as not to change it. And, under the advice of a mysterious handyman (Chevy Chase), are warned that the smallest thing can have huge ramifications in the future. Will the guys let history repeat itself or will they be destined to fail once again?

I have to admit that when viewing a movie entitled “Hot Tub Time Machine”, I had to set the bar pretty low. But the positive thing when setting your expectations so low is that, more often than not, you’re often pleasantly surprised. In this case that rang true and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Now I will say that the movie is on the raunchy side. The “F” bomb is dropped early and often, there’s plenty of toilet humor (literally) and sexual jokes and innuendo are prevalent. That said, it’s also what makes the movie work and if you can get past that, then you’re in for a real treat. There’s sex, drugs and rock and roll and though the look and feel of the “80’s” is there, it’s fresh enough in my memory to not really be an accurate representation of said decade. Still, I doubt this film was trying too terribly hard to get the historical facts straight. Fans of “The Hangover” and other buddy movies of this nature will enjoy themselves, but it is a bit harsh, so make sure the kiddies are tucked in before putting in this disc.

Video: How does it look?

Fox has presented “Hot Tub Time Machine” in a superb 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer. Colors are bright, bold and strong and if you need an example just look to the neon colors of the 80’s. Flesh tones seem on par and if you consider that John Cusack has way more freckles than I thought humanly possible, it’s a good-looking transfer. Detail is impressive, black levels are on the mark and contrast is right on the money as well. I don’t have a lot more to offer regarding this transfer, it looks as good as I thought it would and is consistent with pretty much any new Blu-ray movie. This doesn’t disappoint.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio track is rather loud at times, something I wasn’t really expecting. There are plenty of good 80’s songs that resonate throughout the speaker setup and some of the surround effects take charge. Dialogue is strong and as mentioned above, we get every incarnation of the “F” word that’s available (it’s used as a noun, adjective and verb – what an amazing word). The LFE get involved as well and though I wasn’t expecting this to be so robust in the audio department, it was. Comedies are a bit hit and miss, but “Hot Tub Time Machine” does tend to deliver on the audio front.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There aren’t a lot of supplements to dig into, the real draw is that this is the “Unrated” version and we get a few more additional scenes from the Theatrical version. There are some trailers as well as 12 minutes of deleted scenes (some of which are in the Unrated version of the film). And that’s it. I’d have liked to see some more, but for what it is – it’s not a bad selection of supplements.

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