Friday, April 02, 2010

Of Time and Tubs

Last night I dragooned a few innocent, junior Ministry staffers into a mad errand. We headed downtown descended into a subterranean dispenser of strong spirits for several mind-fogging beverages and then we went to see Hot Tub Time Machine. Let me just say about it -- there are some things you can't unsee. Like Rob Cordry's unwaxed ass, and that's just for starters.

It's very, very cleverly written, referencing or drawing on every time-travel/alternate-reality text from It's a Wonderful Life to Terminator and The Butterfly Effect, with a slap here and there at Stephen Hawking, Red Dawn, and everthing bad about the 1980's, including the clothes, the hair, the music, Ron Reagan (seen bullshitting about Iran-Contra) long lines of cocaine, long lines of tequila shots, hopped-up little skanks in leg-warmers, bags of magic mushrooms, breakup-poetry and... where was I?

I especially loved the way the film depicts today as the logical, and not very wonderful extension of those times, the way it's completely unapologetic about its grossness, insensitivity and extremity, the way it exploits its young actresses for gratuitous nudity, and its refusal to get moralistic, hopeful or messagy about things. It hews pretty close to Seinfeld's one rule of comedy: No growing, no learning.

Hot Tub Time Machine prominently features an "illegal" Russian version of Red Bull called ChernoBull, and a million other little touches like that. A furry wild-card tinkering with the NFL's time-space continuum. An alllusion to the painting of Francois Clouet. And John Cusack. And Chevy Chase stealing scenes, and hot startlets. What's not to like?

"Deeply wrong on every level," said one lovely operative at the Ministry of Elegance afterwards. She meant that in a good way.


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