Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is juvenile humor at its worst
I suppose if you’re a 12-year-old boy, you’ll love ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2,’ but anyone beyond that age (or gender) may find the film a patience tester.
I was never sure if the original Hot Tub Time Machine was actually funny. I had seen the movie as the second part of a double feature at the drive-in, and I had been put into such a bad mood by the first movie — Kick-Ass — that I couldn’t even crack a smile during HTTM until about two-thirds of the way through. So I thought I’d give the sequel a shot to see if maybe there was something hilarious I missed because of that other movie.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 picks up after the events of the first movie with Lou (Rob Corddry), his son Jacob (Clark Duke) and friend Nick (Craig Robinson) as the leads. John Cusack (wisely) opted not to reprise his role from the original, although the character of Adam does hang heavily over the film, especially when the three meet Adam’s son Adam Jr. (Adam Scott … that’s a lot of Adams in one movie!) in the future.
Yes, this time the three think they’re going into the past to prevent Lou’s murder (and, let’s face it, he really deserved to be shot in the dick), but the hot tub actually takes you where you need to go, not where you want to go, so they end up ten years in the future and have to try to figure out which red herring killed Lou in the past. Was it the unaccounted for Adam? His jacket is lying next to the hot tub, so perhaps he used it to escape. Was it one of Lou’s disgruntled employees at Lougle? (Yes, Lou invents Google before Google, so it’s now Lougle). Was it actually Jacob, who seems to have benefited greatly in the future from his father’s death? Or someone else? Whoever it is, you can be sure a dick joke will be involved.
Yes, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 seems to have been written by a group of horny twelve-year-old boys who have a fascination with penises and the word “fuck.” Unfortunately, they never seem to be able to figure out how to make either thing the least bit funny (although some squirting semen does garner the film’s one big laugh). Not only is it not funny, but the character of Lou has been made even more grating than I remember him from the first movie (perhaps because Cusack was the real star of that film instead of Corddry). A little Lou goes a long way, and even when a SmartCar tries to murder him, you have to wonder why anyone else would care to save his life. He’s just awful, but there should be a huge cheer from the audience when he gets his comeuppance at the film’s end.
Craig Robinson probably comes off best with his musical ambitions and theft of popular songs like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” (right down to recreating the original music video). Some of Nick’s songs, which Robinson actually co-wrote, are clever and funny so I have to give him points for that. Duke is fine and Jacob is not as obnoxious as Lou, but you have to wonder why he’d even care about saving the life of someone who is just so utterly terrible to him, even if Lou is his dad … who treats Jacob like a butler instead of a son. Adam Scott fares well too, especially as he goes from weird and needy to completely off his rocker after having a hit of something called Electric Ladybug. Chevy Chase makes a brief appearance and Community alum Gillian Jacobs appears as Adam’s fiancée.
There are not really a lot of good things to say about the movie. They can’t even keep their main concept of how the hot tub time machine works straight! They have to put some kind of blue crystals in to get it going and then there is a big deal made about getting totally plastered with drugs and alcohol, then blacking out and waking up at the destination. They go through this process at the beginning of the journey, but then any other time they use the machine, they just add the blue crystals and off they go. Why make such a big deal out of getting hammered if that really has nothing to do with the mechanics of the time machine??? Or at least address it later with a “huh, guess we really didn’t need to do that” after they time travel again. And almost everything you see in the commercials for the movie happens in the last five minutes!
When asked what we thought of the movie by the studio reps on the way out, the most positive things we could muster were, “the color processing was excellent,” “the sound was loud and clear,” “the picture was really big.” That was about it. I’m sure fans of the first Hot Tub Time Machine will flock to see this one, but right about now I’d like to jump in the tub myself and try to get that wasted 90 minutes of my life back.