Hot Tub Time Machine

  • Review Date: March 24, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Drugs, topless women make this comedy too steamy for teens.
  • Review Date: March 24, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 99 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the ultimate positive message -- that people have the power to change their situations -- the movie is filled with gags about drugs, fighting, and objectification of women that make its lesser messages something to note.

Positive role models

None of the main characters are worth emulating: they are all sad, beaten-down, middle-aged guys whose lives did not turn out as they hoped, plus one twentysomething who spends all his time indoors on a computer. Their behavior throughout most of the movie consists of debauchery and indecision, and one character takes a morally questionable path at the end. But eventually the characters come to feel good about themselves and learn to deserve the good things they have. Perhaps the twentysomething, Jacob, is the most positive of the group; he seems to have gained some wisdom from the mistakes of his elders.


The movie has a good amount of shouting and arguing, plus an ongoing series of mild fist fights with a bully.


Aside from plenty of flirting, kissing, sexual innuendo, some naked male backsides, and some visual jokes about oral sex, there are two sex acts. One character has sex in a tub with a girl, but stops because he feels guilty about being married (although this is the past and he's not technically married yet). There is full frontal female nudity in this scene. In another scene, a character has unprotected sex with a woman (the point is to get her pregnant so that her grown son can continue to exist in the present), though no nudity is visible. A third sex act almost happens, a three-way between two guys and a woman, and the scene contains female frontal nudity and a naked male backside, as well as jokes about other parts of the anatomy.


This movie features almost constant swearing from beginning to end, including, most frequently, "f--k" and all its different variations. Other foul language and innuendo includes "s--t," "dick," "penis," "vagina," "p---y," "ass," "balls," "Jesus," "bitch," "slut," and many more.


Many period products and brands, circa 1986 are shown and referenced, mostly for humor, including MTV, Sony Walkman, and Jansport. Pepsi is shown and referenced. And a Russian-made "Red Bull" knock off is essential to the plot. It's not actually "Red Bull," but the real "Red Bull" is referenced in comparison.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

These adult characters drink a great deal (beer, scotch, vodka, etc.) and do plenty of drugs, but it's mostly for humor. Many different kinds of drugs, from cocaine to Ritalin, are referenced and/or shown. One character eats psychedelic mushrooms, but they seem to have no effect. The same character also smokes pot from a bong. One scene should be noted: early in the film, a character nearly dies after drinking and driving and then parking in his garage with his car engine running. He is (jokingly?) referred to as an alcoholic.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hot Tub Time Machine is like a college party weekend, filled to the rim with profanity, sex and sex talk, as well as drugs, alcohol, and a little fighting. Several sex scenes, which include topless women and some bare male bottoms, as well as near constant profanity (from "f--k" to "p----y"), make this a decidedly adult movie. One big joke involves the possibility of a straight man performing a sex act on his straight male friend. Some comedic drug and alcohol scenes, along with the film's focus on men re-evaluating their middle-age lives, also pushes it into mature territory. Older teens might enjoy the movie, but it's definitely intended for adults who remember the 1980s and grew up enjoying these kinds of teen party movies, especially those starring John Cusack (Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, etc.). 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In 2010, three old friends, Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry), do not have the lives they once wished for. Divorced, depressed, and otherwise unsatisfied, they decide to spend a weekend in an old favorite ski village, accompanied by Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). Climbing in a hot tub, they are magically transported back to 1986, which was a major turning point in their lives (except for Jacob, who wasn't yet born). There, they each have a choice to walk the same path and not upset the space/time continuum, or to re-do things that felt unfinished, including the decision to dump or not dump an old girlfriend, or stand up to a bully. Are they doomed to repeat their failures, or does the future hold new hope?

Is it any good?


Modeled after the 2009 smash hit The Hangover, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is raunchier than it needs to be, but it's still very funny and very clever, especially for older viewers who grew up on the many "teen party" movies of the 1980s. Focusing on three old friends who travel back in time from 2010 to a memorable weekend in 1986, the movie goes through the motions of a carefree teen comedy, but with the added weight and perspective of adulthood.

The movie is also a postmodern re-evaluation of the entire genre, complete with music, clothing and other artifacts of the era, but viewed through a modern-day lens. The 1980s are seen as both a simpler time, with more personal connection, but also a more superficial time. These ideas are not explored with as much clarity and depth as they could have been -- some of the characters' problems are too easily solved via the use of the time machine -- but the result is still satisfying and entertaining.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concepts of change and regret. What do you wish you could change or do over again? Is it ever too late to change your lives? Is it impossible, or just more difficult, as one gets older?

  • What did you think about the drugs and alcohol in the movie? Is it OK to use these subjects for humor?

  • What kinds of things keep friends together over many years? What kinds of things cause them to drift apart? Are these a good or bad?

  • What would life have been like in the 1980s? Does it seem simpler and more appealing (without Internet or texting), or does it seem primitive and impossible?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 26, 2010
DVD release date:June 28, 2010
Cast:Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, John Cusack, Rob Corddry
Director:Steve Pink
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language

This review of Hot Tub Time Machine was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Adult Written bySpikeinid March 29, 2010

Absolutely hideous

This was the most horrendous movie I have ever seen. John Cusak is one of my favorites, but my wife and I had to leave the theater. The few funny parts were vastly outweighed by the constant use of the F word and all the sex and drug use. A total embarrassment for all the actors. For those who have taken their kids to this: what were you thinking...or were you thinking at all?
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bysicknasty October 26, 2010

great fun for the family

great fun for the family
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written by1DVSBSTRD February 23, 2015

whats so bad?!

there was nothing bad in this film, I think they might of reviewed the wrong film or something, There was no sex, drugs, beer, nudity or anything.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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