Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Crude Sexual Content and Language throughout, Graphic Nudity, Drug Use and some Violence
Directed by: Steve Pink
Written by: Josh Heald
Starring: Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase, Collette Wolfe & Gillian Jacobs
2010’s HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is one of my favorite comedies to come out of the past decade and I still find it hilarious upon every viewing. While the idea of a sequel to HOT TUB isn’t necessarily a bad idea, this second installment is a huge disappointment for a variety of reasons. 2010’s HOT TUB TIME MACHINE was hilarious, original, and actually had a certain amount of character depth to it in spite of all the crassness. 2015’s HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 is the polar opposite of all of those things and desperately throws every possible gross-out gag at you to see what sticks.
Years have passed since a group of friends time-traveled back to 1986 and changed history forever. Unfortunately, their newfound success is fleeting. Lou Dorchen, founder of the internet, Lougle, and Motley Lou, is driving his business into the ground. Nick Webber has been ripping off every possible song from other artists (pop to rock to grunge) and is quickly running of material to steal. Meanwhile, Jacob remains an aimless loser and hates Lou for being a bad father. After an assassination attempt on Lou is made (involving a shotgun to the dick), the trio hop in the stolen Hot Tub Time Machine and wind up in 2025. It’s 10 years into the future and they must look for Lou’s murderer.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 seemingly does the impossible and makes the best part of the original (Rob Corddry’s Lou) into the worst part of this sequel. Lou was a lovable asshole in the first movie and had me laughing so hard that I was crying. Even today, my friends and I still quote lines that Lou said in the original. Now, he’s shifted from lovable and crude to overly annoying, thoroughly unlikable and mean-spirited to the point of being considered a villain in his own movie. John Cusack is noticeably absent and this is addressed through a couple of plot points that seemed as if the screenwriters were taking jabs at him for passing up on a role in this lame sequel. Cusack’s character was the straight-faced levity to all of the absurdity in the first film. Without him, it seems like everything got too off the rails in this sequel. Chevy Chase shows up for a blink-and-you-missed it unfunny cameo and Adam Scott is easily the worst character as the clean-cut son of Adam Yates (Cusack’s character).
While the murder mystery premise seems like it could be an okay story, it mainly serves as an excuse for the characters to play out a series of skit-like scenes that are loosely connected to each other. There’s Nick Webber’s failed song (the Webber Strut), a drug party involving a high-powered psychedelic Electric Ladybug, Adam Scott’s wedding (because we apparently needed that plot point) and end credits that show the characters going through various points in time (mainly glimpsed in the TV spots and trailers). Scenes and running jokes stretch on to an unbelievable degree too. The worst of which includes characters saying “high-five” instead of actually high-fiving or the trio of time-travelers insulting each other as they look at their future selves in a mirror.
Two sub-plots save HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 from being a complete failure and actually got a couple of legit laughs out of me. There’s a sentient smart car that’s stalking Lou with murderous intent through the futuristic city and these bits (though not a huge part of the movie) were creative. The funniest part comes in Choozy Doozy, a morbid futuristic game show that puts the stuff glimpsed in IDIOCRACY to shame, and has Christian Slater popping up as the game show host.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 is a colossal downgrade from 2010’s hilarious comedy. John Cusack’s absence removes the balance that the original film had between ridiculous over-the-top humor and genuine character. Lou, the shining spot of HOT TUB, becomes downright insufferable in this sequel. The effects are piss-poor throughout and the script is flimsy as hell. Though there are a few moments that actually got some laughs out of me, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 is a mostly inept sequel that should have gone direct to video. Just stick with the original and pretend that this second film doesn’t exist. Fans of the first HOT TUB should band together, go back in time and stop this sequel from ever happening.