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At the Movies with Peter Clease: Hot Tub Time Machine

"Hot Tub Time Machine" delves into crude, volatile crassness; it is immature and sloppy with unfounded, idiotic idioms; subtlety is not its idyllic flavour; and it enables alcoholic, drugged-out rampages--and, I say, all the better.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" delves into crude, volatile crassness; it is immature and sloppy with unfounded, idiotic idioms; subtlety is not its idyllic flavour; and it enables alcoholic, drugged-out rampages--and, I say, all the better. But what, in its asinine fortitude, is there to relish? Well, forgoing a tightrope, it walks the centerline of the highway--drunken and battered--never making a misstep, except when it makes a misstep. Then, in its intoxicated daze, nourished with past and present recall, it is deeply funny, often line for line--sometimes, for line.

"What's in a name?" an old poet once asked. He supplied an answer: "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Chuckling, I respond to the same question, but by supplanting "rose" with pool, much as it matters. One which knows no name would undoubtedly be this most eccentric of pleasantries; it strives only to serve the nostalgic essence of its title, through non-repetitious homage and verbal wit. There is much relief when it is attentive enough to remind us, not itself, of its signature "rose." The premise--oh, the premise is such a monotone voice when the film's title serves as an explanation: "Hot Tub Time Machine" is--you guessed it--like "Back to the Future" and its kind, a film about time-travel and the altercations that occur as a direct result. In addition, throw in a drunkard past his prime (Rob Corddry), two depressed (casual) best friends (John Cusack and Craig Robinson), and a chronic video-game obsessive (Clark Duke), and you have a raunchy, little comedy about irregular hot-tub after-parties.

Like many of today's comedies, "Hot Tub Time Machine" is infatuated with misogynistic man-children who further themselves in borderline lunacy; however, it presents them, albeit kindly, for what they are: insecure, depressive, self-abusive, overly opportunistic. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is not concerned with faulty images, but with honest depiction--and its brisk speed serves as the means to reward with hilarity. It is, as said, funny, sad when it needs to be, very astute, and it builds momentum from its first love: music. Strangely, it is all these things and more, but wonderful above everything.

4 out of 5 popcorns.