Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine opened in Hong Kong today. I'm keen to see it, although it could be risky business. (Too early to make lame puns about 80s films? Yes, too early.) It's got John Cusack in it, who retains that making-the-uncool-1980s-cool-again pedigree demonstrated in Grosse Point Blank. But it's also meant to be an Internet phenomenon, and I suffered all the way through Snakes On A Plane, and once bitten, twice shy.

Not only did I watch Snakes On A Plane, I watched it at a point in my life when I was very alone, in a rain-wracked, wintery Australian retirement prison camp-cum-holiday resort, the day before running a marathon I wasn't adequately prepared for, mentally or physically. So you have to be careful.

Of course, it doesn't appear that Hot Tub Time Machine has had its script created out of suggestions from bloggers who thought it was funny at the time, so that's a plus. I far prefer to be cynically marketed at by professional marketers, rather than people just paid to do it.

Oh. Oops.

And there is the underlying worry, omnipresent like the background radiation of the universe, that if HTTM is a success, it will spawn a series of dismayingly inept sequels, and I for one am not going to be happy to see trailers for Snowmobile Sex-Change.

Actually, that sounds like a horrible accident in Minnesota in January. But what would I know?

At least it's unlikely to produce a lame pornalike: well, unless Hot Tub Sex Machine gets made, but that would just be some people having sex in a hot tub, and there's obviously no market for that sort of thing.

Oh. Oops.

(I was thinking about a porn film with a over-endowed man who has to keep washing vegetables - yes, Large Hardon Colander, but I guess that's going too far.)

Anyway, I'm now twenty minutes away from seeing the film, a little nervous that it will be the cinematic equivalent of going to the zoo to laugh at the monkeys. Except with monkeys dressed in Global Hypercolour t-shirts and dancing to Duran Duran. I guess we can laugh at the 1980s now - but we could then, too. If we found the constant fear of nuclear war, the sinking of the miner's strike, General Belgrano fighting Margaret Thatcher in a beanfield and Ronald Reagan wearing a pastel jacket with the sleeves rolled up laughable.

Oh. Oops. This is what happens when amateurs like me try to remember the decade they grew up in. I'll just shut up and watch the film.


It was actually a lot better than expected; there's a running gag about amputated limbs (which is a lot funnier than that makes it sound), the Eightiesness of it is idealised (lots of bright neon skiwear and horrible tastelessness) but never feels gratuitous, and it's lovely that there's so many references to other time travel films. It's not often that characters are aware of what things mean, but this happily shoehorns in mentions of The Butterfly Effect ("that was a great movie!" is one of my favourite lines, but you'd have to had watched it to find that funny, and in good grace nobody could recommend that), Back To The Future, The Terminator and I'm sure some other things that I've missed in my little cloud of 80s reminiscence.

It starts a little slowly, perhaps, and seems incredibly dark for a few seconds (until something happens with some bodily fluid which rather sets the tone for the rest of the film) but it manages to keep the audience's goodwill right to the end with the cheesy but in keeping with the 80s theme that's-what-friends-are-for neat tie up; there's some lovely payoffs as it draws to a conclusion. Any film that can mention "your nine-year-old wife" and not disgust has something special going for it.

The only slight negative is walking out of the cinema, listening to other moviegoers mention to one another that they were born the year after the film was set. Youth is wasted on the young. Although the young are often wasted.


Post a Comment