“Life is about do-overs, OK?”
Can I get a hot tub, again? Hot Tub Time Machine 2 picks up more or less where the first left off. After repairing the past, the present is different from what Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke), previously existed in. That is to say, they’ve exploited their knowledge of the future to make themselves very rich and influential, be it the founder of
Everything is all well and good until an unknown gunman shoots Lou in the groin at a party. The only chance of saving his life lies in the time travel aspect of the hot tub, where the group can travel back to the moment of the assassination to stop the shooter. However, the crew doesn’t land in the past, but the future. From here, they have to solve the mystery: Who shot Lou? It is the only way to ensure their lives and all of their ill-gotten gains do not vanish.
The first Hot Tub Time Machine wasn’t too bad, and garnered a lot of support upon home release. It took the 80’s and made something pretty amusing, even if viewers didn’t grow up during that time period. With that said, it probably didn’t deserve a sequel, and based upon how many people were unaware of Hot Tub Time Machine 2‘s existence, it is debatable as to how many truly cared.
Even at a doable 93 minute runtime, HTTM2 begins to get old a third of the way in, which is a downer if the trailer was seen. After viewing that, yours truly wasn’t expecting a high quality comedy, but a legitimate level of amusement looked like it could have been had with the possibilities of oscillating between the past and the future, however helter-skelter-ish that may have been. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen until (mild SPOILER) literally at the end (end SPOILER). What is left is a mostly uninteresting whodunit quasi-murder plot in a visually dull future.
HTTM2 doesn’t go completely without laughs, but aside from an extremely raunchy moment taking place on a futuristic TV show meant to poke a little fun at society’s focus on sensationalism and shock value, there isn’t much beyond the here-and-there chuckle. As one could expect, there are callbacks to the original that keep continuity (who is really going to watch this without seeing the first?) but many seem to exist and feel like a crutch for uninspired jokes.
Maybe the most newsworthy thing about this sequel is the absence of John Cusack as Adam. Sure, the first was a multi-man effort, but he was a big part and did a solid job. While it may be easy to point towards Cusack’s exclusion as a big reason why this isn’t as good, on the other hand it is truly doubtful that his inclusion here would have made for a massive increase in quality, if any. And if you believe John, he was never asked to return early in the development, meaning that director Steve Pink, producers, and writers had more than enough time to make a better script than what is found here.
As Cusack’s replacement is Adam Scott as Adam Jr. He is the dope, oblivious to anything and everything but doesn’t add a ton here and his presence in the story never truly fits. Of course, the other three return, headlined this time around with Rob Corddry. His Lou is still abrasive, selfish, and mean-spirited, which made him funny before. This go around those traits are amplified and not in an overall good way. Though still capable of delivering a few funny moments, Lou is more of an irredeemable monster this time, and his eventual self realization and “change” near the end is hard to accept. Character-wise, he is comparable to Alan from The Hangover: Hilarious in the first, jerkish and cantankerous in the second.
Craig Robinson is alright, but now it feels like he is himself in everything. The best thing about this one might just be Clark Duke. His role is more important this time, and sort of serves as the glue that holds things afloat as opposed to a complete sink. Truth be told there is some chemistry among the threesome, but for what existed in the way of a plot. there needed to be more of it.
Sharing more in common with recent comedies than just a 2/To in its title, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is yet another check in the column of comedy sequels that really didn’t need to be made, or even greenlit. This hot tub is basically inoperable.
Photo credits go to comingsoon.net, blogs.indiewire.com, and cinemavine.com.
Follow the Movie Man @MovieManJackson