Directed by Steve Pink
I went into this movie hoping that it would make a case for its own existence. The premise of the film is so mind numbingly stupid that it simply has to be in the top ten most ludicrous ideas for a movie ever, even a comedy. But perhaps because it is a comedy, it’ll be funny and warrant our precious attention. After having seen the film, I’m undecided as to whether or not it proved anything to me.
If “Hot Tub” had one thing going for it from the get go, it was John Cusack. I’m a pretty big John Cusack mark, and Cusack in a comedy is almost always a winning combination. Both “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “High Fidelity” are two of the better comedies of the last ten years. And hell, the director of this film even wrote those two movies. But the casting of Cusack in this movie just doesn’t click. He’s best when the film revolves around him, “Hot Tub” is most certainly an ensemble piece. In fact, if it was any one actor’s film, it’s probably more Rob Corddry’s than anyone else’s. And unfortunately for Mr. Corddry, I am not, in particular, a fan of his. He’s far to abrasive for my tastes. Too douchey. And luck have it, in this film he plays the biggest douche in the world. Thankfully his character is so completely and utterly over the top that he goes full circle from completely annoying to moderately tolerable and even somewhat funny.
As for the premise of the film, the time travelling hot tub, the amount of time spent on the subject surprised me, in that almost no time is spent on it. The characters get in it, they get drunk, they travel through time, and eventually they find their way back to it to return home. That’s about it. I’m not really complaining, I can only imagine that lingering on this ludicrous plot device would only bog the film down, even in a comedy. Most of the comedy of the film ends up coming at the expense of the 80’s, which let’s face it, is far away from a difficult target. But as funny as some of the jokes are, they never really become anything more than an endless stream of one-liners, and I was infinitely more entertained by the satirical nature of “American Psycho” and its jabs at the 80’s than anything in “Hot Tub.” (I probably laughed more at “American Psycho” too… I’m not sure what that says about me.)
Still, if you’re a fan of comedies with endless one-liners (and not much else) check the film out.