LOL with Friends and Movies , Horrible Bosses and Hot Tub Time Machine

          

My husband and I love getting together with our friends Karen and Steve to have dinner and watch a movie. We alternate, every few months, our house or theirs. The hosts make dinner, the guests bring dessert and we all raid our movie collection so that we have plenty of options to choose from.

Comedies work best for this type of gathering. Laughing in the company of others seems to just make things funnier. Luckily, we have similar senses of humor and appreciate a good R-rated gross out buddy comedy. The Hangover, both 1 and 2 were favorites of ours so when I brought out Horrible Bosses and Hot Tub Time Machine recently, I was sure that they fit the bill. I was not mistaken.

Neither of these films is quite as funny or imaginative as The Hangover, a film which if you thought was too crude, offensive or vulgar, then just stop reading now because these 2 films are all that. But fun and silly they were and boy did we laugh out loud, repeatedly, to the point where we had to pause, to catch our breath and the next bit of dialogue.

Horrible Bosses stars Jason Sudekis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day as 3 buddies who have, you guessed it, Horrible Bosses. Really Horrible, horrible bosses. To describe how horrible would just spoil the fun.  In a moment of self pity, the 3 friends decide to borrow from Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and murder each others’ bosses. Hilarity ensues as this “genius” plan unravels.

The success of this film lies in the charm of the 3 lead actors and skill of the supporting bosses. An above average plot, with a few comic twists and snappy dialogue doesn’t hurt either. The main actors are well supported by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and an unrecognizably schlubby Colin Farrell in the titular roles. It is was 98 minutes of laughs and a great way to spend an evening with friends.

Who lives, who dies and how, is put together with fun and craftsmanship (oh yes, vulgarity too). I have watched this film 3 times and can watch it again any time for laughs.

As for Hot Tub Time Machine, I have only watched it twice. The first time was with low expectations and I remember being pleasantly surprised. I really only watched it because of my fondness for John Cusack. The title sounded extremely silly, but then again I am a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, so silly titles are a minor hurdle. When my husband suggested we watch it at our friends’ house the other night (they had never seen it) I thought, why not.

It is rare that a film is better than I remember it to be. Maybe it was laughing with friends that made it so. John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson are 3 buddies, each down on their luck, on a weekend getaway. In an attempt to relive the good old days of high school, they travel to a favorite ski resort, which has clearly seen better days (so has the one armed bellhop played to perfection by Crispin Glover). A malfunctioning hot tub control panel sends Cusack’s character, his nephew and 2 buddies back in time to 1986. There they must deal with the butterfly effect as they painfully try to relive some of their poor choices, yet again, but with full knowledge of the consequences. Failure to do so could result in the nephew ceasing to exist.

Big laughs are had, as these bumbling fools try to remember what exactly happened over 20 years ago. In the meantime, they are desperate to get back to their sucky lives as they try to recreate the malfunction.

This movie is silly fun and makes no attempt at a scientific explanation for time travel. It works best for those of us who did come of age in the 80’s (cough, cough, me) as it is full of pop culture references that are all but forgotten.  I call any film a success if I laugh out loud repeatedly over a 101 minute run time. I imagine I would watch this again, perhaps when my kids are old enough to join me.

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