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Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray + Digital Copy Review

Hot Tub Time Machine movie poster Hot Tub Time Machine

Theatrical Release: March 26, 2010 / Running Time: 99 Minutes (Theatrical), 101 Minutes (Unrated) / Rating: R (Theatrical), Unrated

Director: Steve Pink / Writers: Josh Heald (story & screenplay); Sean Anders, John Morris (screenplay)

Cast: John Cusack (Adam), Clark Duke (Jacob), Craig Robinson (Nick Webber), Rob Corddry (Lou), Sebastian Stan (Blaine), Lyndsy Fonseca (Jenny), Crispin Glover (Phil), Chevy Chase (Repairman), Charlie McDermott (Chaz), Lizzy Caplan (April), Collette Wolfe (Kelly), Aliu Oyofo (Young Nick), Jake Rose (Young Adam), Brook Bennett (Young Lou), Crystal Lowe (Zoe), Jessica Parι (Tara), Kellee Stewart (Courtney), Julia Maxwell (Lucy), Geoff Gustafson (Dr. Jeff)

Buy Hot Tub Machine from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital Copy • DVD

By Kelvin Cedeno

Hot Tub Time Machine is about as telling and unpretentious as any movie title on record. It sounds ridiculous, juvenile, and like something out of the 1980s. Those impressions are accurate, but the film has more to offer than you might expect.

This light-hearted story centers on four diverse males, each with his own set of problems. Adam (John Cusack) can't seem to stay in a steady relationship without it ending in disaster, and he's deemed an arrogant jerk by everyone around him. His 20-year old nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) also has women trouble, but he can't seem to ever meet any human outside the Internet, let alone break up with one. Nick (Craig Robinson) once had recording artist aspirations, but he is instead working at a dog spa under his wife's thumb. Finally, there's Lou (Rob Corddry), a drunken, horny rebel who couldn't possibly care less about anything or anyone, or so he says.

Nick (Craig Robinson), Lou (Rob Corddry), Adam (Joh Cusack), and Jacob (Clark Duke) take a soak in what they soon learn is a hot tub time machine.

When Lou makes an apparent suicide attempt, Adam and Nick decide to take him to Kodiak Valley Ski Resort to relive old times. Jacob tags along for the ride, much to Lou's chagrin. Arriving at the resort, they find things aren't quite as they remembered them. Maintenance is non-existent, and the area has become a ghost town. The only thing that actually seems to work is the hot tub, in which the four men spend a rowdy night. The next morning, things have changed as Kodiak Valley ends up being exactly as they remember it, all the way down to the leg warmers and Jheri curls.

The guys discover that they've transported back to 1986, and while they look like their modern-day selves to each other and us, everyone else there sees them as teenagers. Jacob, however, still looks like his 20-year old self, but each time someone brings up the fact that he wasn't yet alive in '86, his presence begins to flicker. While waiting for a mysterious repairman (Chevy Chase) to fix the hot tub and get them home, each tries to live out the day exactly as he once did. This isn't easily achieved, for the friends' temptation to act differently and prevent future discontentment is irresistible. Jacob, meanwhile, finds his existence seems to hang on anything that could disrupt the past/future.

Chevy Chase plays the mysterious repairman who may be the gang's only chance of returning to the present-day. Crispin Glover, no stranger to 1980s time travel time comedy, plays an ice-sculpting hotel bellhop who the guys fear could be dismembered at any moment.

The best thing that can be said about Hot Tub Time Machine is that it has heart. That comes as a bit of a surprise considering it is marketed as a raunchy comedy.
Make no mistake about it; the film is raunchy and certainly earns its R rating. There are breasts and F-bombs galore (Corddry contributes to both), but underneath all this, there's both a message and character development. Admittedly, these don't emerge until the final act, but it's refreshing for a comedy of this sort to have anything akin to humanity.

As for the comedy itself, it's a mixed bag. There are plenty of the stupid, eye-rolling gags that are expected of such a title. Some of these exist merely to disgust viewers, a few of whom I'm sure a few will find them amusing. Much better are some of the witty one-liners and situational gags that usually stem from Cusack and Duke. The abundant '80s references are a lot of fun, and the attention to detail impresses. It seems like the creators opted for a wide range of humor so that everyone could get something out of this, but the movie works best when it's playing against type.

It's hard to ignore is the film's lack of structure. Once our leads are transported to 1986, they're left wandering around and going off on self-contained episodes. The movie ends up feeling like a series of short skits grouped together by theme until the last half-hour finally gives a purpose to everything we've seen. Not following a traditional storytelling structure is certainly not a bad thing at all, but here, it makes the middle act sluggish despite the short running time.

If you go into Hot Tub Time Machine expecting little like I did, you'll find a halfway decent comedy. The characters all have their own well-rounded arcs that are easy to invest in. The middle may be little more than a dozen sketches played back to back, and the time travel logic doesn't hold up to even slight scrutiny, but nevertheless a lot more thought and care went into this production than those of its kin. This isn't a wildly hilarious film, but it's a better-than-average diversion, and that's more satisfying than the title suggests.

Note that the movie's DVD and Blu-ray releases both contain the R-rated theatrical cut and an unrated cut. There's only a 2-minute difference between the two, and it's almost all made up of extra swear-filled dialogue. An additional topless shot or two pops up, but otherwise this is a case of an Unrated Version not doing much to shake up the original version.

Buy Hot Tub Time Machine Blu-ray + Digital Copy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Details

1.85:1 Widescreen
DTS-HD 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided discs (BD-50 & DVD-5 DVD-ROM)
Blue Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on Theatrical & Unrated DVD ($29.99 SRP)


Blu-ray presents Hot Tub Time Machine in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There's no excuse for a modern film to
have a transfer that's anything less than excellent, and this one lives up to those standards. This isn't an epic special effects extravaganza, but that doesn't prevent the image from always looking detailed and vivid. It's becoming increasingly common for comedies to have pumped-up contrast, but thankfully everything looks natural and warm here. No artifacts arise, and the image looks untouched by the dreaded DNR beast.

The DTS-HD 5.1 track is similarly strong despite the genre's limitations. The standout component here is the line-up of '80s tunes which all sound impressively clean and rich. Their inclusion gives life to an otherwise quiet track. Elements all sound natural, though, as both dialogue and ambience are mixed well. It's not necessarily a demo-quality track, but it does exactly what it needs to do in a gratifying way.

Nick (Craig Robinson) threatens to open an illegal Russian energy drink can to the concern of patriotic Americans.


Hot Tub Time Machine's meager supplements, all in HD, begin with nine deleted scenes (11:48).
In actuality, two of these are merely improvised outtakes (a standalone gag reel is oddly missing here). The other seven offer extensions of existing scenes, completely deleted sequences, and, in one case, an alternate version of a familiar scene. The alternate doesn't work as well as the finished one, but the other bits are more or less the same quality as the film. None of these have been reinserted into the Unrated Version.

Next is the always-welcome theatrical trailer (2:25).

It's followed by four "Theatrical Promotional Spots" (6:28). These include "Production: Acting Like Idiots", "Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood", "Totally Radical Outfits: Dayna Pink", and "Crispin Glover: One-Armed Bell Hop". Due to their nature, these rely heavily on film clips. The brief sound bites we do get merely praise the actors and production design and complement a few behind-the-scenes hijinks. While these are nice inclusions, they don't take the place of a proper making-of featurette, the absence of which leaves the set feeling hollow.

Disc 2 offers only the semi-standard digital copy of the film for mobile device playback.

The disc opens with an advertisement for Fox Digital Copies and trailers for Our Family Wedding and Date Night.

The main menu looks like every other Fox title. A montage of film clips plays while the pop-up ski-themed menu expands from the bottom up. Each menu selection can only be seen one at a time, but considering how light this disc is, it's not as much of an annoyance as on other titles.

Both the Blu-ray disc and the digital copy come housed in a standard blue keep case which itself comes in a cardboard slipcover. This is a rare case of a slipcover being more useful than usual as it shows our leads as adults, but the interior sleeve art shows them as kids. Inside the case are two pamphlets: one containing a code for the digital copy and another advertising Fox titles on Blu-ray.

With some trepidation, Nick (Craig Robinson), Jacob (Clark Duke), Lou (Rob Corddry), and Andy (John Cusack) approach the hot tub time machine.


Hot Tub Machine delivers the boobs and booze you expect, but it also throws in other elements to elevate this a bit above a standard raunchy comedy. The characters feel like more than just props, and outside of a meandering middle act, the story has been given some attention. The differences between the R-rated and unrated cuts are negligible, but at least both are offered and with strong video and audio. Unfortunately, the supplements are lazy. The film is not for everyone, but those with a liking for crude comedy should find this better than expected.

More on the Blu-ray / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy the DVD

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Reviewed July 22, 2010.

Text copyright 2010 DVDizzy.com. Publicity images (not screencaps) copyright 2010 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, United Artists, New Crime Productions,
and Fox Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.