When Lou (Rob Corddry) is murdered by a mysterious man in the present, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) have to take him back in time using the “Hot Tub Time Machine” to prevent his murder. But instead of going back in time, the time machine jumps them forward into 2025, from whence Lou’s murderer came.
Surprise-hit Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) was one of those comedies nobody thought would be good until they actually saw it. Stupid, yes, and full of sophomoric sex jokes that were practically copied and pasted from every bro comedy that preceded it, but its “time-travel in a hot tub to relive the ’80s” plot was imaginative and zany. Sadly, as is the case with out-of-left-field comedy successes, the magic can’t be recreated in a sequel (unless that sequel is 22 Jump Street).
What’s funny is you don’t even have to watch Hot Tub Time Machine 2 to know it’s a piece of shit. Just watch the trailer, which tells you everything you need to know.
The movie basically reuses jokes from the first film (Strike One) and simply moves the “time-travel to the past” story from the first film to the future (Strike Two). Oh, and don’t forget John Cusack, who played main character Adam in the first film, didn’t return for the sequel (Strike Three). When the main character—the one audiences relate to because he’s the “every man,” not a caricatured supporting character—doesn’t want to come back for a sequel, that’s your goddamn sign to drop it, you know?
Instead, we got a movie with three supporting characters who were promoted to main characters without having personalities beyond their single-punchline archetypes. Lou is still the selfish, immature asshole; Nick is still the sensitive token black friend; and Jacob is still the nerdy, voice-of-reason youth. Oh, and bonus! They add Adam Scott as Adam Jr., the son of Cusack’s Adam, who’s the strait-laced pussy (Stereotypes!). To make matters worse, none of them change. They end the movie the same way they began (i.e., no character growth), so why should we care about what happens?
“But the jokes were at least funny, right?” you’re wondering. Nope. The majority of the jokes in the first film relied on the ’80s nostalgia and the absurdity of the time-travel, which is why that movie was so funny. Strip those jokes away, however, and you have nothing but the same jokes you could watch in any other male-driven comedy. A hot girl’s tits and a guy getting shot in the balls? HOW ORIGINAL.
Even the future-based comedy was half-assed. How is it the writers of this movie can come up with something as “WTF” as a hot tub that functions as a time machine, but they can’t make a clever joke about a period of time that hasn’t even happened yet? Murderous Smart Cars? Yawn. President Neil Patrick Harris? Right, because you need to plug in a present-day pop culture reference somewhere so it’s still relatable. A TV game show where you have to f*** another dude in the ass? Yeah, I’m tired of homophobic discomfort jokes, bro.
This is such a waste of filmmaking, as well as of Corddry, Robinson, Duke, and Scott’s comedic talents. Worse, it’s a waste of my time.
Overall, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is nothing more than a sorry-ass attempt at a comedy sequel. Honestly, it almost makes me like Hot Tub Time Machine less knowing that this movie is attached to it. But, hey, there’s one funny thing that came out of this film—the fact that Paramount and MGM tricked people into paying for the same jokes twice. And we wonder why every movie is an unfunny sequel now…
Hot Tub Time Machine 2: D+
For my radio review of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 18:52 mark).