At 39, Rob Corddry is old enough to remember the 1980s. Not that he wants to.
"I was a pretty sad case," says the star of "Hot Tub Time Machine." "I was very serious. All my journal entries are about who I was going to ask to dance at the dance and I would do it and then just be sad for a week. I was just a misanthrope."
Even if they said yes, he'd be sad?
"Yeah, because I felt like they were just humoring me," he says, laughing.
A bona-fide Eagle Scout while growing up in Boston, the too-shy Corddry has since become something wild, if his performance as Lou in the raunchy new comedy is any indication. Despite the presence of John Cusack and Craig Robinson of "The Office," he takes over the proceedings in hot pursuit of fast times.
"The good thing about Lou is he doesn't learn anything at all," Corddry says. "Don't go expecting a message. The message is, there is no message. Money will make you happy."
The story of four guys who fall asleep in a Jacuzzi and wake up 25 years in the past needs little explanation, thanks to its title.
"This title apparently was created 20 years ago in college by [writer] Josh Heald," Corddry says. "This was always a running joke . . . that he was going to write a movie called 'Hot Tub Time Machine.' I guess one day he ran out of ideas and just wrote it."
The actor balks at first to comparisons he has heard to the film being a hybrid of "Back to the Future" and "The Hangover." "I hear that a lot, but beyond it being about 30-ish guys. . . . I'm fine with the comparison if it helps us make as much money. Actually, I think it's more like 'Avatar' meets 'Alice in Wonderland.' "
It's a sure thing there's some nostalgic winking, with at least one reference to Cusack's standout '80s film career (Corddry says another might end up on the DVD) and some stunt casting, including era-appropriate cameos by Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover. There was no ribbing of Cusack, he says, despite the actor's status as a fixture of that decade.
"Because he came out unscathed. A lot of those '80s icons didn't fare so well. He made pretty good choices," says Corddry. "His '80s stuff is great! 'Better Off Dead,' 'One Crazy Summer,' those are classic comedies."
Sadly, Corddry found he could not say anything to get one of his favorite references in.
"I was very fond of a show called 'Dance Party USA' -- it's not in the movie because no one else remembers it. It was shot in Philadelphia, it was like a poor man's 'American Bandstand.' There was this woman named 'Princess' who used to dress up like Prince, and all of these kind of scumbags from Philly. I used to watch it every day, I was obsessed with it.
"I was especially obsessed with this cute, adorable blond girl named Kelly; she was my age and she was dating this guy named Chris and I hated this guy, Chris. Come to find out years later, that girl Kelly is Kelly Ripa. I had the hugest crush on her. And I had a crush on Kelly Ripa, too, before I realized they were the same person."
The actor did have at least one of his electric dreams come true in the film, in a sequence producer Grace Loh calls "Mötley Loü."
"They somehow found out that I've been practicing 'Home Sweet Home' -- I've been rehearsing since I was a kid," says Corddry. "We reshot the Mötley Crüe 'Home Sweet Home' video, shot for shot. That's sort of where Lou and Rob converge, their love of early Mötley Crüe."