"In 2010 four brilliant minds will finally master the space-time continuum ..." In a hot tub time machine.
Even in the theatrical trailer, "brilliant mind" Adam (John Cusack) evaluates the concept as "the dumbest f*cking thing I've ever heard in my f*cking life. EVER!"
Cusack reiterates that sentiment in real life describing Hot Tub Time Machine as "four idiots who are thrown back into the '80s to go boldly where men have gone before." "It's a ridiculous film. You're pretty much either sold with the title, or it's not for you."
So bad it's brilliant, or so bad ... it's just really bad. Conceived by nearly unknown, untested writers Josh Heald and Yes Man's Andrew Mogel, directed by Steve Pink (the writer for Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity), and starring a veteran comic cast that includes JC, Rob Corddry, The Office's Craig Robinson, Clark Duke AND Chevy Chase (now a harbinger of comic doom?), the concept could veer either way -- into a hot tub triumph or catastrophe. Let's ponder.
So is it going to work? Here's the argument for and against Hot Tub Time Machine:
Hot Tub Triumph
1. Tantalizing title
Moviegoer: "I like hot tubs. And I LOVE time machines. A movie about a hot tub time machine? [faints]"
2. Cusack's return to his ridiculous roots
Grosse Point Blank, Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer ... far-fetched and goofy is what JC does best.
3. Spoofing the space-time continuum
Consider the potential to irreverently riff on classics, as Nick (Robinson) demonstrates in the trailer with his Terminator revelation. Back to the Future, Quantum Leap, all fodder for space-time spoofing.
4. To go where other time travelers have never gone before...
What previously unexplored purposes could a generation-jumping hot tub serve in the hands of four Red Bull-and-vodka-slugging ninnies?
a. An infidelity excuser: "Honey, I'm in this tub with this blond because I warped to a future where you were dead. Now that I managed to time travel back I'm SO relieved..."
b. A hot tub disposal unit: Lure tiresome spouses ("Snookie, why don't you hop into the tub? I'll be right there -- in 500 years! Muahaaaa!"), irritating reality TV stars, unscrupulous politicians, mother-in-laws, Springer, and other unwanted persons out of the present.
5. Bring sexy back to (or just to) time machines
Finally, a time machine that swings. Plus arriving in ancient Greece naked would require a lot less 'splainin then manifesting in a track suit.
Hot Tub Catastrophe
1. Oooh the '80s!
How strange and wondrous that will be! It's been minutes since I've heard any '80s tunes or spotted a shredded off-the-shoulder t-shirt. Let's hope the movie ventures beyond Bananarama.
2. Sci-fi science
A nerd genius enough to devise a time travel device chose a hot tub as the vehicle? I suppose if they aimed to attain two dreams with one invention -- century cruisin' and getting laid. And where are the date/coordinate controls?
3. Wet, wild time travel fun
So they'll have to get soggy to scale the centuries, while we repeatedly witness the not-so-buff cast in bathing or, worse, birthday suits? (Can't be worse than Ferrell in grandpa panties.)
4. Time travel or Ale-Induced Amnesia?
Are we to believe dim-witted drinkers can tell the difference between time travel and a booze blackout? Could this be The Hangover with a sci-fi fake?
5. "Do you tub time travel often?"
A line that will signal the script has degenerated into the foibles of four, time-truckin' gigolos.
I'm not scribbling a guest list for my hot tub time machine theme party just yet. Still, the trailer (as little as I trust trailers) along with the actors' laugh records has me tempted to see the movie, if not in theaters, on DVD. Perhaps at home, in a rented hot tub.
Now you decide ...