Saturday, 8 May 2010
REVIEW: Hot Tub Time Machine
John Cusack's career is a frustrating thing, say post High Fidelity. To no-one more then him no doubt. But from my infinite well of wisdom I believe I have the solution. Cusack needs to play himself more in movies. As it is, when not apathetically collecting paychecks (2012), Cusack is forced into playing aged version's of his much beloved Say Anything persona. A kind of charming douchebag, who's outward assholism masks a wider faith in the world, be it either romantic or optimistic streak. Films like Serendipity, Must Love Dogs and America's Sweethearts fulfill the former, whilst 1408, Identity and now Hot Tub Time Machine the latter.
It's got to the point where Cusack is a more interesting presence on youtube then movies, in which every promotional interview he fuses with contempt, reluctance and prickly temper. Cusack does not suffer fools gladly, calling anyone on anything he deems to irritate him and he comes across as a very cynical man, who would love nothing more then to shove moviefone's inane questions up their ass. And in a world of sycophant movie star insincerity, this is kind of awesome. I say let Cusack the romantic hero die, and let this version of Cusack see some screen time. Maybe as a villain or in just some more complex stuff then he does of late, but I would definitely be more invested in this Cusack.
To be fair, Hot Tub Time Machine hints at this, but the movie basically begins by telling us he's a self-serving asshole and then goes on to redeem him, without us witnessing the crime. So whatever. Ironically Cusack is fairly invisible in this movie, in which he's the lead just because there had to be a lead. Enjoyment of this ultra-broad, ultra-silly comedy depends mostly on how you view the comedy stylings of David Koechner. Hitting every line, mannerism and inter-change at 200 miles an hour, there's almost an aggressive desperation in how he tries to be funny. But he lends the movie a bit more personality then it would have had otherwise, and he does kind of beat you into submission. Craig Robinson, so excellent in so many things but perhaps most so in Pineapple Express, does get a bit lost in the broadness here, and his usual deadpanning style is somewhat wasted. Still even B-grade Robinson is enjoyable and his presence in any and all movies he's in can only be a good thing. Clark Duke continues his rise to most employable fat sarcastic teen, and after his awesome but so very low-key turn in Kick-Ass, he's doing some good work.
But this is a stupid-ass movie, and was always going to be. The whole thing is a cheap overdone 80's reference. Right down to the casting of Crispin Glover, who in and of himself is an 8o's reference. Still I kind of liked the guy in this. You may have fun, in part because the title Hot Tub Time Machine sends you in with such low standards that anything that is not straight out awful you are grateful for.