The new comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine” is just as silly and ridiculous as its title would indicate, and thank God. After years of tame PG-13 teen comedies, HTTM follows the recent trend set by flicks like “40 Year-Old Virgin,” “Old School” and last year’s “Hangover” of balls-to-the-wall hard-R comedy. It’s lewd, crude and damned proud of it.
Set in the fictional ski resort town of Kodiak Valley, friends Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Jacob (Clark Duke) head out of town for a little getaway after Lou nearly kills himself head-banging to Motley Crue while revving the engine of his Camaro in an enclosed garage. Adam, Lou and Nick spent the best days of their youth partying and getting laid at Kodiak, but when they arrive they are lead to their dilapidated room by a one-armed bellman with a bad attitude (Crispin Glover). Seems Kodiak has kind of gone to hell over the last quarter century.
After a mysterious maintenance man (Chevy Chase) fixes up the hot tub, they decide to make the best of things, drinking and partying the night away. But when they wake up the next morning, something isn’t quite right. In a barrage of retro imagery that include ALF, a yellow Walkman, a brick phone and MTV still playing videos, they discover they’ve returned to the year 1986.
Dark Horizons got to travel to Lake Tahoe, NV and experience the fun of HTTM first hand. We saw the flick and even partied with the cast at an ‘80s-themed party. Good times. Somewhere along the way, we also managed to speak with Corddry, Robinson and Duke about the film.
Opening with the Motley Crue moment was a bit of a dream come true for Corddry, who admits to a certain obsession with the band during his formative years. “I was a big Motley Crue fan in the ‘80s,” says Corddry. “I’ve essentially been rehearsing for that scene since 1986 in my bedroom, which is sad and true.”
Corddry wasn’t the only cast-member with a musical moment. Craig Robinson also takes the stage during HTTM to perform Rick Springfield’s ‘80s classic “Jessie’s Girl.” “I’ve thought of singing in movies,” says Robinson. “I do sing and I do have a band called Nasty Delicious, so it was nice to live that.”
Born out of a college joke, writer Josh Heald first came up with the idea for HTTM over a decade ago. But once director Steve Pink and the cast came aboard, everyone had a hand in the creative process. “Little of what is in the movie now is actually in the original script,” says Corddry. “The original script was kind of bonkers. My character actually rents a DeLorean thinking it’s going to take him back to the present.”
“There were a lot of rewrites and a lot of improv from the cast,” adds Duke. “A collabo as they call it in the hip-hop world.”
The first step to giving HTTM its ‘80s feel was casting the iconic Cusack in the lead. The actor is synonymous with ‘80s comedies, including such classics as “The Sure Thing,” “One Crazy Summer,” “Better Off Dead” and, of course, “Say Anything.” “It adds a whole other level, having Cusack be the main guy,” says Duke. “I think it turned the movie into something more interesting.”
To top it off, Pink and Cusack added Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover and a few surprises to the cast list. “[Working with Chase] was a career highlight for me,” says Duke. “He’s my hero. I told him that the first day because otherwise I was going to throw up. He’s so funny in real life, just in regular conversation. It’s just his classic wise-ass persona. He’s also amazingly politically incorrect. I’ve never seen anybody do shit to waiters like him. You’re in for a treat unless you’re easily offended.”
As Phil the bellman, Glover has one arm and a bad attitude in the beginning of the story. But when the boys get back to ’86, he’s rocking both a right and a left. The way he might potentially lose an arm becomes one of the film’s funniest running gags. “I didn’t get it,” says Corddry. “I thought Crispin Glover was really going to lose his arm. They told me it was going to be a running joke in the movie and I was disappointed. I hate that guy’s stupid arm!”
Once the gang gets back to 1986, the story doesn’t wait long to earn its R-rating. “The only thing I felt like this was missing in terms of being that kind of hard core comedy was actual penetration,” says Corddry. “‘Goonies’ had full-on penetration. ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ one and two had full-on penny. Go back, check the tape.”
Corddry’s character, Lou, starts off as the sort of one-note jerk we often see in this type of comedy, but as the story chugs along Lou’s character evolves into the hero of the story. We asked Corddry how he maintains that energy level and he didn’t miss a beat with his answer. “What I do is, I have to get a hard on before every [scene],” offers Corddry with a straight face. “If you see me, if I’m in a scene in a movie, I am erect. I have a hard on.”
“Which is actually very medically dangerous,” Duke warns Corddry. “Because we’ll shoot 13, 14 hour days.”
In the course of the film, Corddry appears in the buff and also winds up in a rather compromising position with co-star Craig Robinson. “There were a lot of challenges to my comfort zone,” says Corddry. “I’m often pants-less. I had to show my tits. I was also on mushrooms most of the time while acting in this movie. That was a terrible idea. Don’t ever do that.”
So how did Corddry and Robinson get ready for their, ahem, intimate moment? “The atmosphere was just pretty sexually charged,” says Corddry. “Most people were just 100 percent erect for it. Men and women.”
“We came in early and Rob would just fluff me to prepare me,” says Robinson. “And then I came in his face.”
Corddry remains straight-faced, playing right off Robinson’s revelation. “He resets really fast, luckily for us, because we would have gone into overtime. We’d do like seven takes and each time he had to reload. Imagine that seven times.”
Of the cast, the only member with any real hot tub experience was Clark Duke, but the others were able to fake it convincingly. “I tub quite a bit,” says Duke. “I’ve got one one on my roof. We spend all summer up there. I’ve got a little pair of short shorts like James Bond wore in Casino Royale. Little Prada short shorts, bright red.”
Rob Corddry simply rolls his eyes at this.
“Come to Hollywood, man,” says Duke. “That’s how we do it.”
“I avoid Hollywood,” Corddry responds. “I go an hour out of my way because I don’t want to go anywhere near your hot tub.”