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Hot Tub Time Machine

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his equally down-in-the-dumps friends Adam (John Cusack, "2012") and Nick (Craig Robinson, TV's "The Office") think it best to nurse their collective wounds by reliving past glories at a snowy resort in Kodiak Valley. Tagging along is Adam's slacker nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke, "Sex Drive").

Time hasn't been kind to the site of yesteryear's party central; the place is a rundown dump with a surly, one-armed bellhop named Phil (Crispin Glover, "Alice in Wonderland"). But a dip in the hot tub transports them back to the totally awesome 1980s.

In order to get back home without effing up the space-time continuum, they have to do the same things they did back then "? an agenda that includes banging groupies, ingesting drugs and getting pummeled.

For such a stupid premise, the movie manages to somehow play it smart. Well, mostly. Gags about feces, vomit and semen abound, but there's an air of absurdity that grants the carnival a sly, subversive edge.

Too bad it isn't funnier. There are more smiles than outright laughs, and with a lack of standout scenes, "Hot Tub" is nearly forgotten on the drive home. Set pieces stamped with water-cooler potential "? say, the bar bet that ends with gunpoint-forced fellatio between two pals, or the running gag about how Phil will lose his limb "? don't yield satisfying payoffs. They just fizzle out before an abrupt, awkward transition to the next scene. This year's "The Hangover," this is not.

It's safe to say without Corddry, "Hot Tub" would be time wasted.

He so commits to playing a filter-free asshole that he has way more fun than anyone else on-screen. Duke gets some good lines, but the flick's above-the-title star, Cusack, is so underused, he's practically invisible.

As the producer, he should've known his straight-man role was too straight. Equally transparent is Chevy Chase (TV's "Community") as the resort's maintenance man. For a character who's supposed to hold the key to our heroes' return home, he makes no lasting impression. Ditto for preppy villain Blaine (Sebastian Stan, TV's "Gossip Girl") and Adam's love interest, April (Lizzy Caplan, TV's "Party Down").

Much like a soak in the Jacuzzi itself, watching "Hot Tub" is fun for a while, but best limited to a shorter amount of time. "?Rod Lott

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