HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: I had a really conservative uncle who uncharacteristically liked the old BATMAN television series because “it’s goofy enough for me.” That sums up my assessment of this R-rated comedy where three former best friends (Rob Corddry, John Cusack, Craig Robinson) and one’s geeky nephew (Clark Duke) are transported back to a ski resort lodge in 1986 at a period when their personal lives either began to go south or, in the case of newcomer Duke, when he was conceived. Depending on your point of view, the screenplay pays homage to/rips off plot elements of BACK TO THE FUTURE I and II (1985, 1989) to the point of even casting Crispin Glover (NURSE BETTY) from that first movie as a bellhop destined literally to be “disarmed” at any given moment. It’s proper that the title implies a non-serious, potentially crappy work because it does manage to exceed low expectations by a fairly sizeable distance. Corddry (W.) recalls to mind movies where alcoholic losers could be mined for comic effect and Robinson (KNOCKED UP) is just as funny as a cuckold husband/wannabe musician. Not all of the storylines fire on every cylinder and female characters with neither large breasts nor shapely bodies are nowhere to be found (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.). The gags that take off are quite hilarious and since none of this is to be taken seriously anyway, it doesn’t really matter whether we believe this could happen or not. What is relevant in a comedy is whether or not you laugh at the humor more than you cringe. Along with a clever, if not terribly original, conclusion, TUB manages to get over that hump without being as gawdawful as the clothes and fashions adorning the “me generation” of the mid-80s. CRITIC’S GRADE: B-

CURRENT AND NEW DVDs THAT I RECOMMEND: THE BLIND SIDE, BROKEN EMBRACES, THE COVE*, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, HACHI: A DOG’S TALE, THE HURT LOCKER**, 9, PRECIOUS

*Won Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature

*Won Academy Award for Best Picture and Director