Hot Tub Time Machine
Cast: John Cusack, Rob Corddry
Direction: Steve Pink
Evidently hoping to emulate the success of last year's Hangover, here's another gross-out male-centric comedy. Depending on your taste, this '80s-flavoured film will either cause moments of gleeful hysteria or pangs of anguish. Either way, decorum is thrown by the wayside as three 40-something buddies, who have drifted apart over the years reunite for a wild weekend at their favourite ski resort. Tagging along with the trio (Cusack-Corddry-Craig Robinson) is a nerdy, much younger hanger-on (Clark Duke).
Writer-director Pink (Accepted) serves up a succession of loosely related incidents and familiar time-travel elements. When the quartet wakes up from a night of partying in the titular thingamajig, they discover they've been transported back to 1986.
What the hell happened? They have no clue. Acting on the advice of a mysterious maintenance man (veteran comic Chevy Chase), the disoriented pals decide to relive their past experiences exactly as they happened so that they can return to their lacklustre lives.
Of course, nothing really works according to plan. Then again, there's the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do things differently the second time around. The narrative winds down in an illogical if highly fanciful, resolution.
For every scatological gag involving dog poop, there are zingy interludes such as the phone call to an allegedly adulterous wife, who happens to be all of nine years old when she is accused. Unfortunately, the female characters come across as mere ciphers.
John Cusack, the co-producer of the film, is correctly understated. But it's Rob Corddry who steals the show as the aggressive alcoholic with suicidal tendencies.
This one makes for ideal matinee escapism.