Synopsis – When Lou finds himself in trouble, Nick and Jacob fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr. Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past – which is really the present.
My Take – This film is another example of how sequels are produced just in order to build a forced franchise! Five years ago, the not so original, mediocre & but still entertaining, Hot Tub Time Machine came out, the film exercised the concept of insane comedy with a message of all that was wrong in our lives. It was an entertaining buddy movie that yearned for something more! The 1st installment told the story of a bunch of losers returning to a winter resort after many years, and jumping in the eponymous hot tub. This malfunctioned, causing them to travel back in time. Whilst there, they attempted to obey the rules of time-travel, before their return. However, when returning to their present, Lou (Rob Corddry) stayed behind to alter the past to make them rich in the future. Well the most important aspect about the prequel was the presence of (I cant believe I am saying this) John Cusack! Well this time around he is not there, well almost *wink*. Maybe they couldn’t afford John Cusack or he is just to big for dumb movies now? I am not sure. Yet his presence & quirky one liners were the best part of the film. So how does it feel when you remove the best ingredient of the mix? Well you get this sequel.
The story begins in the future; when Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) are both rich and successful, from ripping off other people’s ideas (due to their time-traveling in the first movie). Jacob (Clark Duke) lives with his father, Lou, in his mansion; but he’s still constantly abused by him. Adam (John Cusack) went missing, after writing a successful book, and Lou has also secretly been keeping the ‘hot tub time machine’ hidden in his house. When Lou is shot, in the dick, by an unseen assailant, Nick and Jacob drag him to the time machine; in order to travel back in time to save him. They accidentally go into the future though, of an alternate dimension, where they meet Adam’s son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). The four then try to find Lou’s killer and discover a new way to get home; since nitrotrinadium (which powers the time machine) doesn’t exist in the alternate future. While the plot may seem good enough to pull of a sequel, the humor is a hit & miss most of the time. The time travel device was clever because of its in-joke casting of someone like Cusack. But the sequel just lacks cleverness. It’s a lot of penis jokes, padded out with sleaziness, unnecessary nudity, and Rob Cordry run amuck. Cordry is the type of actor who’s best in supporting roles. He was perfectly cast before because he wasn’t the lead & his character was actually given a surprising amount of depth. But given Cusack’s departure in the sequel, instead of a much better actor & funnier Craig Robinson, Cordry is given free reign, and the result is stifling: he suffocates everyone else, and comes across as loud, ugly, and profane. What worked well in the first film completely destroys the second time around. I don’t know why Clark Duke keeps getting cast in movies, he is never funny! Just plain annoying! Adam Schott is a fine addition to the cast, but unfortunately this talented actor is wasted as more of side kick to Duke & Cordry. What’s even sadder is Scott’s whole motivation, as a character, is to find his dad. The movie teases us with John Cusack references frequently, whether it’s the group of friends finding Cusack’s trench coat or his boxed memories of “Cincinnati” (a point of furious indignation in the first film) or Scott, holding up Cusack’s photo, bemoaning the ills of being a fatherless son. And whether or not this teasing was meant to be a joke, there’s no delivery, and there’s no punch line.
Fortunately, Craig Robinson does not disappoint on his behalf though! No matter how bad the lines were and he definitely made me laugh. Chevy Chase reprises his earlier role in a blink a miss scene. Gillian Jacobs is good. The movie had potential to be something original like the first but it seemed like the writers just gave up half way through! “Hot Tub Time Machine” was an underdog, a film that was clearly green lit to cash in on the success of “The Hangover,” but which carried a unique spirit; it was simultaneously a Back to the Future-esque ’80s time travel film, and a nostalgic riff on the era featuring one of its biggest stars. The silliness of the first film is duplicated to a lesser degree in the sequel and is overshadowed by mostly unfunny, over-the-top-crude and offensive sight gags and comments that are supposed to pass as jokes. Of course I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece? Was the first one any better? Nah, not really. To be fair, most comedy sequels usually receive their expected share of criticism, no matter how they are (Dumb & Dumber Too), but in this case, while Hot Tub Time Machine was crude, but it had a heart. This one doesn’t! Overall, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2″ fail completely, it is a 90 minute poorly executed slapstick, filled with one liners that never land, a completely unwarranted sequel & its not surprising to see it how it failed at the box office, while the first one delivered a few jokes, worthy of a watch, however this time around not enough is given to sit through the film. This film will appeal to 15 years-old boys, and all others who enjoy crude sex comedies.
Director – Steve Pink
Rated – R
Run Time – 93 minutes