“Hot Tub Time Machine” is getting good reviews. Looks like it could be good for some cheap laughs (and is there a better kind of laugh than a cheap one?).
“Hot Tub Time Machine” is the poignant story of three men, adrift in their 40s, who try to recapture the lost joys and squandered possibilities of their youth. I’m not entirely joking, though the movie itself is a nonstop barrage — somewhere between a riot and an orgy — of crude, obnoxious gags and riffs. If you are a connoisseur of sexual, scatological or just plain stupid humor, you will find your appetite satisfied, even glutted. But viewers of a certain age and background — let’s say those who know the lyrics to “Jesse’s Girl” by heart, even if they never really liked that song — are likely to endure the merry anarchy with a twinge of pained, slightly nauseated nostalgia.
…The undercurrent of misogyny and homophobic panic that courses through most arrested-development, guy-centric comedies these days is certainly present here. But unlike, say, “The Hangover,” which sweetens and sentimentalizes its man-child characters — allowing them to run wild and then run home to Mommy — “Hot Tub Time Machine” is honest in its coarseness and pretty tough on the fellows who are the agents and objects of its satire.