Cinematic Swipe: 16 Hot Tub Time Machine Candles

Be it coincidence or homage or the outright hope that they don’t get caught aping someone else’s movie, filmmakers have been replicating the work of those who have gone before them for some time now. Every now and then we like to stop and point out one of those instances.*

Open this past weekend to a surprisingly low box office gross of $13 million, Hot Tub Time Machine sends four guys back to 1986 via the titular jacuzzi with the expected comedic results. To help set the mood, director Steve Pink has peppered the film with a number of references to teen comedies and dramedies of the `80s. Some are extremely subtle, but others are much more obvious. But no reference is more apparent than the scene where John Cusack’s character spends some time getting to know Spin magazine reporter April played by Lizzy Caplan. Pink decided to stage the scene in a way extremely familiar to anyone who has seen John Hughes’s Sixteen Candles. (And that’s a lot of people.)

As the scene comes late in Hot Tub Time Machine, I won’t spoil it by comparing it directly to the scene in Sixteen Candles. Suffice it to say, though, that there is a similar romantic tension, which Pink shorthands for us with the reference.

*And in the spirit of the swipe, we readily acknowledge that we were “inspired” by a similar feature over at Rich Johnson’s comic book news and gossip site, Bleeding Cool.

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About Rich Drees 7040 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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