“Hot Tub Time Machine” (2010)

I’m not going to spend a lot of time defending Hot Tub Time Machine. It’s cheaply made, sexist, homophobic, and rude. It has a preposterous ending. Yet I enjoyed it anyway. The key was to go in with low expectations; that way, they were all exceeded. This is like the 20 year class reunion of the 80’s, where Grosse Point Blank was the 10 year.

Choosing John Cusack as the lead was key. He made his bread and butter on the 80’s teen flicks this movie both lampoons and celebrates, such as Better Off Dead, 16 Candles, The Sure Thing, Eight Men Out, Stand by Me, and most famously, Say Anything where he became the go-to everyman heartthrob, Lloyd Dobler, for a generation. (I recommend all the previous films. He was in tons of others, like Class, Grandview USA and One Crazy Summer, that sucked.) That Cusack plays a washed-up guy whose best days were in the 80’s is a nice use of deliberate irony, or art imitating life.

His buddies are Craig Thompson, Darryl from The Office, and Rob Corddry, from the Daily Show. Clark Duke plays his nephew, and is a chubbier, dweebier basket of Michael Cera mannerisms; the two collaborated on a web site comedy series, Clark and Michael. Thompson is especially hilarious in the dry, quietly reactive style of The Office.

Don’t go if you’re easily offended, or if you don’t have nostalgia for the 80’s. But if kooky cameos by 80’s faces like Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover, and the mean kid from Karate Kid make you smile, then lower your expectations and go for it.

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