Like “Ninja Assassin” and “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus” before it, “Hot Tub Time Machine” is a movie whose title tells you everything you need to know about its story. What the title also manages to communicate is the film’s glorious absurdity. It’s a flick that does not take itself seriously in the slightest.
John Cusack stars as one of four friends whose night of ski-resort partying lands them in 1986 after a drunken soak in — you guessed it — a hot tub that doubles as a time machine. When Cusack and his pals — including Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson — find themselves essentially stuck in an ’80s movie, they’re at first too freaked out by space-time-continuum-altering missteps. But eventually the beers flow and the plotting to alter their lives begins.
Before turning up the temperature and going for a soak this weekend, here are five things you need to know about “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
The Title Is the Sell
Scripts pile up for Cusack, but all he needed to know to sign on to “Hot Tub” was the title. His first thought upon seeing the script? ” ’That’s the dumbest title I’ve ever heard.’ … So I thought, ’That’s a movie that knows what it is,’ ” he told MTV News.
It was the same for the rest of the cast. Robinson immediately said, ” ’I’m in.’ Right away. I may not have read the script.”
“Cash the check. Let’s do this,” Duke declared.
The Movie Was a Dare
Back in college, future “Hot Tub” screenwriter Josh Heald had a running joke with the future writers of “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” that one day they’d make a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine.” They all laughed about how it would never happen.
“They’ve had the title for the last 20 years,” Corddry laughed. “And then one day, he wrote it.”
The movie hits theaters Friday (March 26). What if the cast had to create their own movie based just on a title?
Robinson would go with “Captain Happy Pants.”
Duke would pitch “Avatard.”
Corddry opted for “Schindler’s List,” which, as Duke explained, is about a doorman at a nightclub named Schindler.
The Hot Tub Is a Horrible Place to Hang Out for Two Straight Days
Take it from some Hollywood vets: The hot tub is a dope place to chill out after a long day of skiing but a nightmarish place to shoot a movie. The two days spent sitting, drinking, chatting and time-traveling in the tub seem to have scarred these gentlemen.
“It was like being in a giant toilet,” Duke said.
“A giant hot toilet,” Robinson added.
“Did you pee in the hot tub?” Corddry wanted to know.
“Pretty much,” Robinson said. “I mean, you have to.”
At this point, Duke walked out of the interview.
The Best ’80s Cusack Movie Is Up for Debate
The film’s ’80s setting had the entire cast looking back to the pop culture of that decade, specifically the cinematic work of Mr. John Cusack. “Sixteen Candles,” “Stand by Me,” “Say Anything”: How do you choose his best ’80s film? Turns out, you can choose, but you won’t get much agreement.
Robinson is a “Better Off Dead” man, while Duke is adamant that “Say Anything” is Cusack’s finest. Corddry argues that “One Crazy Summer” is where it’s at. Co-star Collette Wolfe, however, has a soft spot for some new-millennium Cusack goodness.
“I actually watched ’America’s Sweethearts’ when we were filming,” she said. “Oh my God, he is so good in that movie!”
The ’80s Were Both Hilarious and Horrible
Setting aside the glorious work of Cusack in the ’80s, the cast decided that the decade in question offered some uproarious moments and some harrowing ones. Topping Corddry’s list of ’80s awesomeness?
“Probably when Reagan got shot,” he laughed. “That was hilarious. It was so weird.”
Robinson had his mind on fashion. “Legwarmers were always pretty amazing,” he said. “I didn’t have any. I did have Michael Jackson’s Thriller glove.”
But the cast could agree that the ’80s offered dreadful times as well. “Challenger exploded,” Corddry recalled. “John Lennon was shot. Iran Contra. It was a pretty horrible decade unless you were a cokehead businessman. Then I think it was a pretty good time.”
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