The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (R)

Most of the gang from the 2010 comedy reconvenes in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, a stupid movie that, disappointingly, is not the fun stupid movie I expected.
As you don’t especially need to remember, in the first movie three buddies and one 20-something on a ski trip went back in time to the mid-1980s and changed key moments of their lives. Nick (Craig Robinson) became a successful musician, in part by stealing the yet-unwritten songs of bands such as the Black Eyed Peas and (in one of this movie’s better gags) Lisa Loeb. Lou (Rob Corddry), the group’s jerk, became a heavy-metal star and invented the Internet as well as Google, now called Lougle, and stayed with Kelly (Collette Wolfe), the girl he had previously unknowingly gotten pregnant, producing Jacob (Clark Duke). Jacob, never thrilled about having Lou as a dad, is even less thrilled in the “new” present, where he works as his famous dad’s butler. (Adam, John Cusack’s character, is said to be off finding himself and is seen only in pictures.)
At a big party, Lou is shot in the codpiece and, as he is dying via massive blood loss from his winkie area,  Jacob and Nick drag him into the time machine to take him back to attempt to prevent the shooting. Instead, they wind up going forward and getting stuck in an alternate timeline future where Jacob is now the rich guy living in a big house and one of the key ingredients for time travel doesn’t yet exist. (You see, it was created in the past, but not a past that’s happened yet, and ... well, Terminator. Terminator is how this movie — and the time travel fairy godfather played by Chevy Chase — explains without explaining every odd thing that happens.)
The guys attempt to investigate Lou’s shooting and, along the way, meet Adam (Adam Scott), who turns out to be the son of Cusack’s character, though first-movie Adam has never met second-movie Adam. Because hanging out with his dad’s bros is the first opportunity he’s had to learn anything about his dad, future Adam joins in the investigation, even though he’s mere hours away from marrying Jill (Gillian Jacobs).  
I don’t fault Hot Tub Time Machine 2 for being stupid. I kind of looked forward to it precisely because I knew it was going to be stupid. My problem is that I didn’t expect the stupidity to be quite so stupid or — worse still — quite so stale. From the first movie, I remember a sensibility that is primarily summed up in Craig Robinson’s character saying something like “this must be a [pause] hot tub time machine” and then looking deadpan at the camera. It was an “I know you know we know this is stupid” look, and that sensibility allowed the movie to get away with its very low-effort approach to both its comedy and its time travel premise. For whatever reason, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 can not reach the original movie’s benchmark of comfortable stupidity. Is it the absence of John Cusack? Was he the essential ingredient that made this questionable blob of goofiness feel like something? My guess is that it’s possible; Adam Scott, who can be fun in his own way, doesn’t quite help matters here. 
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 feels weirdly mean-spirited and casually homophobic in a way that it doesn’t need to be to be stupid fun. And while, admittedly, I don’t remember much about the first movie beyond Craig Robinson’s knowing looking and his character’s theft of that Black Eyed Peas song, I still get the sense that what I’m watching is less funny versions of the same jokes. 
This movie didn’t have to be terrible. Robinson, Corddry, Duke and Scott are funny right out of the box and probably don’t need much to cobble together some kind of low-fi entertainment value. But this weak sauce doesn’t even reach that low, lazy bar for dumb fun. D
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence. Directed by Steve Pink with a screenplay by Josh Heald, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is an hour and 33 minutes long and is distributed by Paramount Pictures.
As seen in the February 26, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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