In modern-day Los Angeles, four pals are watching their lives go down the tubes. Adam (John Cusack) has been dumped by yet another girlfriend, his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) is a socially inept nerd, while Nick (Craig Robinson) is stuck in a job he hates and is under the thumb of his cheating wife. Worst of all, one-time party boy Lou (Rob Corddry) is so depressed he tries to kill himself.
Rallying around their friend, Adam and Nick decide to take Lou to the ski resort they frequented as teenagers, dragging young Jacob along on the outing. During a crazy night of drinking in their hotel room hot tub, the four wake up to find that, inexplicably, they've been transported back to 1986. Appearing to those around them as the younger versions of themselves (except for Jacob, who wasn't even born) the gang set out to undo the mistakes they made as teens and change the course of their lives.
Knowingly dumb and seriously hard to dislike, Hot Tub Time Machine is an inspired riff on the time travel shenanigans of movies like Back to the Future. Eighties' classics are clearly a touchstone, with BTTF co-star Crispin Glover stealing scenes as an accidentprone bellhop, The Karate Kid bully William Zabka making a brief but welcome appearance and National Lampoons alumnus Chevy Chase playing the mysterious hot tub technician.
Of course, casting Cusack as what is essentially a grown-up version of his signature characters in Eighties' teen classics like Better Off Dead and Say Anything..., is a masterstroke, the actor augmenting his trademark laconic persona with a compelling dose of bitterness. Robinson, star from the American version of The Office, is also great value as the histrionic Nick, with newcomer Duke and comedy regular Corddry making up the best funnyman ensemble since The Hangover.