starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Chevy Chase
screenplay by Josh Heald and Sean Anders & John Morris
directed by Steve Pink
by Walter Chaw Emboldened, perhaps, by the surprisingly good The Other Guys and the surprisingly great Get Him to the Greek, I went into Steve Pink's Hot Tub Time Machine with the belief that its high-concept idea--not the time travel, but the casting of '80s icon John Cusack in a film that would return him to his decade of greatest power and influence--would be at least enough for it to function as a fairly smart nostalgia piece. Sadly, it's not very smart, nor is it very funny--and the parts of it that work do so in spite of what feels like Cusack's disdain for this period that made him famous. It's pretty standard fare, really, full of obvious jokes about changing the past and the obvious "rebellion" of not honouring the Prime Directive by introducing The Black-Eyed Peas into an eighties music scene that, for everything you could say about Falco or Flock of Seagulls, never produced anything remotely as odious as The Black-Eyed Peas. No, not even Billy Joel. In other words, Pink and his stable of writers can't seem to tell what's ironic from what isn't, meaning the whole project was doomed before it left the starting gate.