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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Steve Pink
Cast:
John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan, Lyndsy Fonseca
Writing Credits:
Josh Heald (and story), Sean Anders, John Morris

Tagline:
Kick Some Past.

Synopsis:
Get ready to kick some serious past with the wildly inappropriate unrated version of Hot Tub Time Machine. The outrageous laughs bubble up when four friends share a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, only to wake up with serious hangovers in 1986 - back when girls wore leg warmers, guys watched Red Dawn and Michael Jackson was black! Now, nice-guy Adam (John Cusack), party animal Lou (Rob Corddry), married man Nick (Craig Robinson) and mega-nerd Jacob (Clark Duke) must relive a wild night of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll and try to change their future - forever!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$14.020 million on 2754 screens.
Domestic Gross
$50.213 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 99 min. (Theatrical Version) / 101 min. (Extended Version)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/29/2010

Bonus:
• Both Unrated and Theatrical Versions of the Film
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer and Promotional Spots
• Digital Copy
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Hot Tub Time Machine [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 23, 2010)

Some movies come with titles that tell you little about what to expect. And then there’s 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine, a comedy about… a hot tub time machine.

When drunken, irresponsible Lou (Rob Corddry) ends up in the hospital after what may or may not have been a suicide attempt, his oldest pals come and visit him – though not eagerly. Lou’s behavior has alienated them over the years, and they’re not exactly happy campers themselves. Adam (John Cusack) just separated from his significant other, while Nick (Craig Robinson) is stuck in a dead-end job and frets that his wife (Kellee Stewart) cheated on him.

With no family willing to care for Lou, Adam and Nick agree to help him. To revive his spirits, they go to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort where they enjoyed happier days in the mid-1980s. Adam’s 20-year-old nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) comes along for the ride as well.

It turns out that Kodiak Valley has seen much better days, but the guys try to party like it’s 1986 anyway – and soon that fantasy becomes a literal reality. As they frolic in their suite’s hot tub, it goes all kablooey and sends them back to the winter of 1986.

Actually, it returns the guys there to reinhabit their much younger bodies. While we see their older selves, the 80s denizens only view the men as boys. Jacob remains a 20-year-old, but ala Marty in Back to the Future, he starts to flicker as events threaten his very existence.

Because he fears “The Butterfly Effect”, Jacob urges the guys to relive their visit with no changes from the way it went down in 1986. They do their best to stick to this – until Adam makes a slight variation and the others decide to go their own way as well. The film follows the antics and their repercussions.

If I had to choose a phrase to describe Machine, it’d be “missed opportunity”. The movie could’ve been a riot on many levels. The simple 80s spoofing should generate laughs, and the story could’ve opened up many chances for the characters to mess with history and the timeline.

Neither of these areas develops very well. Granted, 80s mockery has been done before, so I partially appreciate the fact we don’t get too many gags in that vein. However, the decision to largely ignore the silliness of the era gives the movie a somewhat generic feel. Sure, the styles and music place us in the 80s, but they don’t accentuate the film or give it much personality. One could adapt it to 1976, 1966 or 1996 without much effort – the year plays a surprisingly small role.

Not that Machine really focuses too hard on 1986 itself. Some folks have criticized the manner in which the film plays fast and loose with year-specific details, and as one who lived through that period, I admit the artistic liberties can be a bit jarring. For instance, Poison was an unknown band in early 1986, not the big act the movie makes them out to be.

The movie never specifies if “winter 1986” means December 1986 or January/February, though it implies the latter. One event does date events, however. We see the January 11, 1987 Broncos/Browns game aired live, so the film appears to embrace that weekend as its chronology. However, it still wants us to believe we’re in 1986, so the choice makes no sense. Why not just say “Winterfest 1987” and avoid such an obvious timeline mistake? That’d also allow Poison to be more famous than they were in early 1986.

Many other anachronisms abound, but I don’t mind them a lot. When a movie tries hard to capture a specific time and fails, that’s more bothersome - ala Pirate Radio. On the other hand, Machine simply wants to spoof a generic concept of the 80s, so I don’t care that it fails to be truly 1986-specific.

That said, the choice of year makes me wonder if Machine sat on the shelf for a while before it earned a release. We’re clearly told that the tale takes place in 1986, and we also know that Jacob is 20. We learn he was conceived during the night depicted in the flick, which means he was born between late 1986 and mid 1987.

However, we also know that the movie’s “modern day” is definitely 2010. So what am I missing here? The film’s current year really should be 2007, not 2010. This isn’t a major issue, but it seems jarring, as the viewer becomes distracted by that chronological oddity.

I also suspect that the movie was made a while back due to the inclusion of an unfortunate Michael Jackson joke. In that gag, Nick attempts to discern the current year by asking what color Jackson is. When a girl replies “black”, he knows he’s in the past and freaks.

That’s not a great joke at any point in time, but a better one prior to June 2009. I’m a bit shocked that the line stayed in the film; I don’t think it’s necessarily tasteless, but it just seems like a strange choice since it implies a “modern day” in which Jackson still lives. After all, you wouldn’t go up to someone in 2010 and ask them that question.

Even if the movie didn’t suffer from a lack of good period-specific gags and the persistent impression that it was made years prior to its release, it simply fails to have much fun with its concept. When the guys try to avoid changing history, not much comedy results. When they let loose, not much comedy results. The movie boasts territory packed with amusing possibilities, and it rarely exploits these. It throws out the occasional sight gag or gross out joke but not much more.

Seldom have I seen a comedy with so much potential follow such a bland, generic path. I can’t blame the film’s lack of laughs on the cast, as Machine packs a nice roster of performers. They seem to enjoy the concept and they do their best to milk the humor.

But those attempts are in vain, as the core material simply lacks the cleverness or inspiration to succeed. Hot Tub Time Machine isn’t a bad film, and it manages to maintain our attention acceptably well. However, given the laughs it could’ve provoked, that’s awfully faint praise, and it means the movie ends up as a disappointment.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Hot Tub Time Machine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie boasted a strong transfer.

No issues with jagged edges occurred. At all times, the film exhibited nice clarity and delineation, with virtually no softness on display. Shimmering and jaggies failed to mar the presentation, and edge haloes didn’t show up at any point. Source flaws also stayed away from this clean flick.

Colors looked great. With all the garish 80s fashions on display, the film offered a broad, dynamic palette, and the Blu-ray captured them well. The hues were vivid and full throughout the movie. Blacks came across as deep and dark, and shadows seemed clear and well-developed. I felt totally pleased by this excellent presentation.

Expect a surprisingly involving DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack here. Given its status as a comedy, I didn’t think the soundfield would offer much pizzazz, but it came with quite a lot of material. Music showed nice stereo presence, and effects added a good deal of information as well. The fantasy elements such as the titular time machine used all five speakers in a dynamic way, and a few other scenes also broadened the auditory horizon well. The mix tended to be pretty active and engrossing.

Audio quality was also perfectly satisfying. Speech always appeared concise and crisp, without edginess or other concerns. Music was lively and full, and I thought effects worked fine. Those components came across as dynamic and accurate; the louder fantasy scenes even tossed in some deep, full bass. This wasn’t the greatest soundtrack ever, but it was quite impressive for a film in this one’s genre.

Only a few extras show up here. The disc includes both the theatrical and unrated versions of Hot Tub. The former runs one hour, 38 minutes and 56 seconds, while the latter goes for one hour, 40 minutes, 37 seconds. What do you find in that added one minute and 41 seconds? I’ll be damned if I know. I saw the flick on the big screen, but I don’t remember it well enough to cite the differences. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention that both editions appear. I did hope we’d get more of Tara (Jessica Paré) and her fantastic body, but that doesn’t occur. Damn!

Nine Deleted Scenes fill 11 minutes, 48 seconds. Only a couple of these offer sequences totally eliminated from the final film. We see Jacob flirt with a girl on the slopes, and we watch Adam confront his ex-girlfriend. Otherwise, we get extensions to existing sequences, extra exposition, and some alternate lines. Some reasonably funny bits emerge, but nothing fantastic comes along for the ride.

In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we get four theatrical promotional spots. These last a total of six minutes, 29 seconds and include “Production: Acting Like Idiots” (1:36), “Chevy Chase: The Nicest Guy in Hollywood” (1:45), “Totally Radical Outfits: Dayna Pink” (1:35) and “Crispin Glover: One-Armed Bellhop” (1:33). Across these, we get notes from costume designer Dayna Pink and actors John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Chevy Chase and Craig Robinson. These give us some basics about the production and those involved. Though we get a few interesting moments – like gags from Chase – these really do exist to promote the movie, so they fail to do much more than that.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Our Family Wedding and Date Night.

Finally, a second disc throws in a Digital Copy of the flick. As always, this allows you to transfer the movie to a portable device so you can watch it on the road. Someday I might do so, but not today.

With its goofy presence and a good cast, Hot Tub Time Machine could’ve been a terrific little comedic romp. While the flick has its moments and remains perfectly watchable, it remains a bit of a missed opportunity, as it never really takes advantage of its possibilities. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals, surprisingly good audio and a few minor supplements. I feel happy enough with this release, but the movie is a moderate disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.8 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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