A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.).
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. Older viewers who grew up on the many "teen party" movies of the 1980s will especially appreciate it. 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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