John Cusack eh? The Grifters> Grosse Pointe Blank> Being John Malkovich> Hot Tub Time Machine?!
You saw the trailers, chuckled as Craig Webster uttered the line, 'It must be some kind of hot tub time machine,' then stared hard at the camera. But for the most part you just sat thinking, 'Oh John, wtf?' probably.
The thing is in parts it is funny. Proper laugh out loud funny. Not roll on floor laughing funny, my ass didn't fall off, but it does work as a silly time travel farce.
Plot: Well... what's to say? Not much really. Three old friends and one of their nephews (with one on the brink of suicide) head to their old stomping ground, a ski resort, to, well, cheer each other up. The resort is a shadow of its former self, they get in a hot tub, spill a Russian energy drink (Chernobly, I kid you not) on the control panel and wind up in the 80s and have to figure out how to get back learning life lessons along the way as they repeat Winterfest '86.
Don't get to bound up in the schematics of time travel with this one cause none of that stuff makes one jot of sense. Which is a good thing.
The comedy veers all over the place, occasionally a bit dark, at others playing to a college audience: there's an interesting moment with a squirrel and some vomit: leave your taste hat at the door. The 80s thing is done well enough and the soundtrack is great fun.
The leads are all pretty sound and Crispin Glover's 'cameo' is a nice nod to the truly great time travelling comedies of the 80s.
So had John Cusack sold his soul to make this? No. It's no where near as bad as it's been painted. It's not going to go down as a Cusack classic, the closing scenes are particularly painful, as the schmaltzy ending takes what's left of what did make sense in the plot and stomps in its face, but for the most part the scenes that fail are made up for by the scenes that don't. Just.
You will laugh out loud... a bit. Just don't expect your ass to fall off.
★ ★ ★