Hot Tub Time Machine

Starring Crispin Glover, John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson. Directed by Steve Pink.
Rated MA 15+ (strong sexual references, drug use and coarse language). 95 mins.

No, this back to the future for middle-aged men who are louts or wish they had the chance to be louts, is not as funny as the title might suggest. 2009 saw a film in this vein, The Hangover, which (despite ourselves and the characters' shenanigans) we could find quite a laugh-aloud comedy.

We are introduced to three forty-something men whose lives have been lived in regret, especially since a holiday they had in 1986 at a ski resort where a good life seemed possible. One of them has taken an overdose, maybe deliberately but he does not seem to have any grasp on life which might had led to his making any decision one way or the other. His friends, who have drifted away from each other, get in touch and decide to help him by taking him back to the resort. The nerdish nephew of one of them goes along too.

The resort has gone downhill and Back to the Future's Crispin Glover, is a one-armed bell-hop with attitude. The only consolation seems to be a hot tub, presided over by Chevy Chase. When they spill an energy drink (what a way to initiate time travel in a hot tub!), they are back in 1986, ready to re-live that important day and then get back to the future.

But, unless you enjoy the broadest humour, with accompanying body function, language and crass jokes, you will be straight-faced most of the time. They do re-live the past. Something better than what they did is possible as is a wish-fulfilment happy ending.

John Cusack seems out of place in this kind of film (letting the lout out of him but with restraint). Craig Robinson is quite genial. And Rob Corddry is the epitome of gross crassness (or crass grossness), but, it must be said, he does it with full steam ahead and persuasively.

Every review will probably mention the funny sequence when Craig Robinson telephones his 9 year old future wife and upbraids her for what she will do. If only the rest were as inventive and funny.

21st Century Fox  Out Now

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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