When planning the poster for the March 26 R-rated comedy Hot Tub Time Machine — debuting exclusively on and appearing in theaters starting tomorrow — the marketing team at MGM decided to play things counterintuitively and go with…algebra? “The title is provocative,” explains studio marketing head Michael Vollman. “We wanted to try to tell some story with the poster, which you don’t do a lot of the time. Who has algebra in something aimed at a mass audience? It was a fun way to make the title even more interesting.”

Indeed, the poster’s cheeky math spells out the film’s premise: A combination of hard ski lodge partying, what appears to be a mischievous squirrel, and a magical hot tub transport three lifelong buddies (John Cusack, The Daily Show‘s Rob Corddry, and The Office‘s Craig Robinson) and their younger pal (Greek‘s Clark Duke) back to 1986 and their 1986 bodies — and yes, you’re supposed to wonder why Duke doesn’t appear to age. (The photos on the right are of the actors briefly seen as the younger versions of Cusack, Corddry, and Robinson.) One of the most unusual aspects of the poster, it turns out, is the appearance of what appears to be booze in the comedy equation. “That’s an MPAA-approved image,” says Vollman. “It’s a generic, vodka-looking bottle.”

Has this project finally piqued your interest, PopWatchers?