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Thursday
Mar252010

« In Which Intercourse In A Whirlpool Is A Disturbing Prospect At Best »

Rise of the Meta-LOL

by LAUREN BANS

Hot Tub Time Machine

dir. Steve Pink

108 minutes

Hot tubs were at risk of going the way of waterbeds (that is: kaput) and Hot Tub Time Machine is the best save the vessel campaign I’ve seen this century. That isn’t saying much, but if you’re a Jew like me who likes to play word association games on Friday nights, when someone says “Hot Tub!” you say, “Folliculitus!” When your friend groans and intones again “HOT TUB”, you say, “DO NOT HAVE SEX IN ONE.”

Seriously, why do goys want to have sex in hot tubs? I cannot think of a less fun way to get scabby AIDS.  But at least now hot tubs can claim to be something other than a regretfully-baked bacterial clafoutis. That was the point of this opener, I think.

I mean this next sentence as the ultimate compliment: Hot Tub Time Machine is the greatest execution of an idea that came to someone who was high on the marijuana drugs. Usually baked ideas suffer from the fact that absurdity is the only selling point, but HTTM managed to construct an honestly funny movie around the initial concept.

John Cusack plays an older, but still emotionally stunted version of Lloyd Dobbler like he always does. He’s just lost yet another girlfriend and has a sadsack life. Rob Cordry is his eternally-drunk asshole of a friend.

Craig Robinson, the highlight of the movie, plays Nick - an emasculated shell of a man who took his philandering wife’s last name, a signifier in this Apatarded world that he is a big ole pussy. It’s okay to suspend disbelief that these people would be best friends because we’ve already conceded to the plot device of hot tub-cum-time machine, so.

The entire CGI budget of this film was spent on perfecting really forceful projectile vomiting. But those are the worst jokes in the movie, and they’re not even so bad. There are also a lot of black cock jokes, though I’d like to believe that while audiences might have David Duke humor centers, they have Bennetton hearts.

Also, on a more general note: me and Don DeLillo are super happy with all the meta-LOLs in movies these days! John Cusack writing Say Anything-esque break-up poetry when he’s back in the 80’s? Excellent. I would have appreciated if he would have used the time travel opportunity to neg out of 2012 and Must Love Dogs but maybe there wasn’t enough turnaround time.

Of course because this was a film, there needed to be heart or whatever. Lizzie Caplan provides that as John Cusack’s love interest. She is apparently the only decently cool female to exist in the ‘80s.  

In female-oriented rom coms you’ll get a choice a few decent men because women love buffets, but in male coms WITH ADDED ROMANCE, of all the Earth’s females there’s only one who has, like, ever read a book or made a fart joke, and the choice might as well be handed down on a stone tablet from God. I’m sorry, but that scenario is so teasingly unfair. If that were true, I would have like 8 million boyfriends.  But IRL Molly Lambert and Julie Klausner exist. FUCK.

Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can read more of her work here and here and here. She twitters here.

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"Four Score and Seven" - Titus Andronicus (mp3)

"A More Perfect Union" - Titus Andronicus (mp3)

"A Pot In Which To Piss" - Titus Andronicus (mp3)

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Reader Comments (3)

I'm still mad "Land Of The Lost" didn't involve jokes about how bad the CGI was

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Who is the DB who put John Cusack in this movie? Also, why is that hot tub water SO YELLOW?

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHugh

I'll be your bf . . . . but you have to work ariound my wife's schedule . . . . and for the record, men like buffets as much as women, but instead of wanting one thing from a choice of many we want all things in the choice of many.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFRC Ruben

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