No, you don’t need to have grown up in the 1980’s to enjoy this film. However, if you don’t recognize the one-armed bellboy simply by his voice or think that the repairman is just some old guy then you probably do need to bone up on the 1980’s. For me, it was a joy to see all the different references. I am sure there are some that I missed, but that didn’t hurt the film.
What did hurt this film was that for the first 15 minutes or so the film was trying to be a retread of the dung on celluloid known as The Hangover. Just fast forward to when they are back in the 1980’s in their younger bodies courtesy of a magic hot tub and go from there. From then on, it’s fun to watch the three guys try to decide whether to walk in their footsteps or blaze a new direction for their lives. While at the same time, the kid who comes back with them desperately tries to keep them from changing their future since he won’t exist otherwise. If you don’t get the visual reference in how the kid blinks in and out then you also need to bone up.
Nothing special, but if you pick it up it’s a fun time.