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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2010

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"Hot Tub Time Machine" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2010-hot-tub

Synopsis

Three friends Lou (Corddry), Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Robinson) have grown apart as they age becoming wrapped up in their own problems and regrets.  When one tries to commit suicide, the other two along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Duke) decide to apply a little therapy and plan a trip to Kodiak lodge, a local ski resort where they can reconnect and relive some memories of their youth.  When they arrive, they find the lodge to be a dump on the brink of bankruptcy.  The only bright spot is the hot tub outside their room.  Come evening, it fills itself with water and the guys jump in for a night of soaking and boozing.  In the morning they wake up and notice their surroundings have changed.  Yes, they’ve been transported back to 1986!  Big hair, leg warmers and brightly colored ski-wear are everywhere.  Just as they realize what’s happened, their mystical time-travel guide (Chase) appears and tells them not to change the past.  They go about repeating all the events of their 1986 trip in an attempt to preserve history.  Of course things go wrong and when the chance arrives to return, Lou decides to stay behind.  I won’t spoil the end but suffice it to say the butterfly is in full effect!

Specifications

  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer
  • 2010, Color, Theatrical Version Rated R, Also Includes Unrated Version, 1 Hr 39 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC@ 33 Mbps
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase
  • Directed by Steve Pink
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Brief Scene of Gore
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

This movie is firmly in the frat-house comedy genre.  There are plenty of gross gags, slapstick laughs, topless women and foul language to please even the most ardent “man’s man.”  I enjoyed most of the funny moments but occasionally the plot meandered.  Overall, the film was entertaining but I was glad it only lasted 99 minutes.  The end is awesome and easily the best part of the movie.  The main characters are quite hilarious and portrayed well by the principal actors.  Rob Corddry as Lou is over the top as the chauvinistic gross guy.  He is rarely seen without a bottle in his hand and he drops F-bombs with punishing regularity.  I enjoyed Clark Duke as the geeky nephew.  John Cusack plays a great straight man and Craig Robinson as Nick was probably my favorite.  His comic timing was just superb.  If you like to collect sophomoric guy comedies, this film is a definite buy.  If you want intelligent comedy, look elsewhere.

Technical

The image is razor sharp and super detailed.  The only thing that knocked off a star was the color.  It was saturated to the point of looking unnatural.  The Eighties were depicted with bright vivid hues and cartoonish tones.  Faces sometimes took on a cyan or magenta cast but were mostly OK.  Contrast was good in bright scenes but darker material showed elevated black levels.  Night scenes were a bit washed out but retained good shadow detail.

The DTS-MA encode was very clear and present with a wide soundstage but upper dynamics sounded somewhat compressed.  Louder sounds didn’t seem loud enough compared to mid and low-level effects.  Dialog was always clear and properly placed on the screen.  Environmental cues were apparent with obvious sonic differences between indoor and outdoor shots.  I enjoyed the Eighties pop music that is sprinkled throughout the film.  Again though, it seemed a tad compressed.  The sub kicked in during the music scenes but at no other time.  Surrounds were barely used.

Extras

Bonus features consist only of deleted scenes, theatrical promos and a trailer. Finally you can turn on audio commentary by various cast and crew members.