Director: Steve Pink Link: IMDB For better or for worse, I am a proud child of the 1980s. But as much as I deeply venerate the decade that brought us Reebok Pumps, Swatch watches, the “Designer Series” Trapper Keeper, Mr. Belvedere and MTV when it actually played music videos, I know there are plenty of people who do not share my sentiments. Take one of my friends for instance. If he was given the chance, he wouldn’t think twice about using the ‘80s as toilet paper and flushing it down to the sewers so it would never be heard from or seen again. If you are like my buddy here, then it’s a good bet you’ll massively cringe just at the thought of Hot Tub Time Machine, director Steve Pink’s But what “Hot Tub Time Machine” suffers from the most is being full of whiny characters who have the likability and appeal of a rabid pit bull that has missed too many meals and is out on the loose. First there’s Adam (John Cusack), a miserable insurance salesman who’s reeling over the recent break-up with his girlfriend. Secondly there’s Nick (Craig Robinson), a dog groomer who thinks his controlling wife might be cheating on him. Then there’s Lou (Rob Corddry), an alcoholic divorcé who has nothing going right in his life. And last but not least there’s Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam’s 20-year-old nephew who’s obsessed with computers and video games. When Lou supposedly follows through on a suicide attempt, Adam and Nick, with Jacob in tow, try to cheer him up by taking him to the same ski lodge where the former best friends had the times of their lives many years ago. But when the foursome enjoys a night of heavy drinking in the room’s hot tub, they are magically transported back to 1986 to relive one of the most important weekend of their lives. While it may have seemed like a genius idea to cast ‘80s heartthrob John Cusack as the headliner in this comedy that more or less satirizes the films that made him famous, his style of acting doesn’t fit “Hot Tub Time Machine” all that well. Cusack surely has the ability to be funny, but in this raunchy and vacuous farce he just seems out of his element. He’s kind of like a square peg that someone keeps trying to hammer into a round hole. (Seeing Cusack walk around with a briefcase that would make Hunter S. Thompson green with envy just doesn’t feel right.) Of the rest of the leads, Robinson of TV’s “The Office” is the only one who really shows impressive comedic timing, and apart from the painful to watch homage to the Johnny B. Goode scene in “Back to the Future,” his character gets a majority of the film’s best lines. Duke, who starred in 2008’s “Sex Drive,” comes off as relatively bland and Corddroy’s offensive character is so intolerably annoying that every single scene he is in is practically unbearable to watch. (Well, except for his drunken rendition of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.”) Corddroy’s performance is so aggravating that he makes Steve Urkel seem tolerable. Chevy Chase also provides a small appearance as a hot tub repairman, but his cameo is so short, uninspired and pointless that you’ll wonder why he was even added to the movie. But Heald, Anders and Morris make up for this Chevy Chase botch with the hysterical inclusion of Crispin Glover, who plays a one-armed bellhop with a nasty demeanor. In 1986 he was lucky enough to have both of his limbs, so we, the audience, and the four time travelers know at some point he will lose his arm. Since Glover is constantly doing things that put his appendage in jeopardy, you never know when it is going to happen, and that’s what makes this running gag an incredible amount of fun. It’s just a tremendous shame the payoff is nowhere near the same comedic level as the build up. Now that I think about it, the problem with Glover’s character can be viewed as a microcosm of “Hot Tub Time Machine” as a whole: There was so much promise in the beginning, but the way things were handled — or mishandled if you will — you just can’t help but feel disappointed in the end. Photobucket