Monday, April 5, 2010

Jason watches HOT TUB TIME MACHINE

Don't judge me.

Okay, I don't feel like writing much about the plot (pretty thin, with not very sympathetic characters) or the comedy (actually, a lot of it was pretty funny). But I do want to talk about the philosophy of time travel in this flick.

I know the point isn't to obsess over the rules of time travel, just let it go and enjoy the movie. I can't help it, I'm a physicist with a fondness for time travel movies. After all, I once reviewed a movie (scroll down to TIMECRIMES) by providing a Feynman diagram. In fact, I've been thinking for some time of doing a project of Feynman diagrams of famous time travel movies. I also ranted about how poor time travel logic ruined the suspense in TERMINATOR SALVATION, completely ignoring all the other elements that ruined it. Okay, I'm a time travel logic geek (saddest day of my life was figuring out BACK TO THE FUTURE was not really a time travel movie). So, completely ignoring the use of a hot tub as a time machine (silly, but no more ridiculous than a phone booth or a DeLorean), what's the logic when our heroes go back in time? Warning, there will be spoilers:

4 guys (3 old friends and one nephew) go back in time 24 years. To themselves, the 3 old guys look like their 40-something selves. But to other people (and in the mirror) they look like young versions of themselves (they feel young, too). This leads to the first problem--shouldn't the young guy not exist, or be a ghost only they can see, or something? They actually mention this once, then ignore it. But the logical inconsistencies start there. In the meantime, he flickers in and out of existence, a sign that something they do or do not do there will result in or prevent him being born.

Although the characters express the "Butterfly Effect" ethos--don't change anything or the future will be destroyed--they don't really stick to it much. However, there's a sort of force that makes plot-relevant events happen no matter what--John Cusack's character gets stabbed in the eye, Rob Corddry gets the crap beaten out of him, and it seems there's nothing they can do to stop it. However, other major things can and do change.

Then in the end, when Chevy Chase finally fixes the hot tub time machine, 3 of the characters go back and one stays behind. That--along with everything else they changed, drastically changes the future. That's fine, and it's fine that characters from the 80's remember them when they meet again in the 00's and recognize they've come back in time, although it would be a jarring change for them. The only thing that bugged me there is the characters who don't age in twenty years.

Again, I know I shouldn't care about any of this. I know it's a lazily scripted, silly little piece of fluff. But I can't help but notice the time travel logic is lazy, silly, and ultimately doesn't work, too.

Running Time: 100 minutes
My Total Minutes: 179,997
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