Synopsis: When Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) 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. (Adam Scott). Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past…which is really the present.
Release Date: February 20, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
While plenty enjoyed the first Hot Tub Time Machine, it seemed pretty clear that the general consensus put the film in the “kind of funny” category. Not boring enough to be a complete train wreck, but not original enough with its humor to be an instant classic. Clearly, though, enough people liked the film, or else there wouldn’t be a Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Unfortunately, those people should have been more careful with what they wished for, as Hot Tub Time Machine 2 proves the bad sequel syndrome is alive and well.
To be fair, the film does something interesting with the time travelling Jacuzzi concept in that it takes the audience into the future not the past, but that’s where the creativity begins and ends. The conceit affords the writers the freedom to play around with some near-future ideas, but very few of them are actually clever. In fact, many of them are pretty dumb. There’s a sub plot about a sentient car hunting down Rob Corddry’s Lou, for example, that must have been funny to someone, but is unbearably childish in the finished film. Even the introduction of Adam Scott as Adam Jr., son of John Cusack’s character from the first film, is a missed opportunity, mostly because the film makes him into a complete goob. Someone had to be that guy – the straight man who occasionally gets to break loose – but Scott wears the role uncomfortably. He does well when asked to play a little unhinged, but as a futuristic prude he’s pretty cringe inducing.
That uninspired writing extends directly into the Hot Tub Time Machine 2 plot, which sees three of the four main characters heading into the future to stop a crime. The three go a little further than expected, but eventually find that the near-future actually holds all the answers. The near-future also offers the opportunity for a completely aimless plot that boils down to two key central moments, with the rest of the film existing as pure fluff. It’s comedic set-up after comedic set-up, which would have been fine if the comedy was original. Instead most of the humor is either crude or vulgar in a thinly veiled attempt at disguising shock value as humor.
Worst of all, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is boring. If nothing else, a comedy set in the future should have been mildly interesting, but the film fails to seize any opportunity for genuine humor. It’s too busy making homophobic jokes or using male genitalia gags to actually be clever or smart. The first film was dumb, but at least it had a little charm. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 has had nearly all the charm sucked from it. All that’s left is three comic relief characters meant to carry a new adventure, but there’s a reason they were comic relief and not the lead. And even if there was some doubt or curiosity as to whether Clark Duke, Rob Corddry, or Craig Robinson could carry the film without John Cusack, this sequel puts those notions to rest. They can’t.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2‘s only redeeming quality is that once in a while it gets a laugh or two, but that hardly makes it worth recommending. Those who enjoyed the three side characters from the first film may find they’re still generally likeable (or appropriately detestable) the second time around. But even more, however, will begin to question what they saw in the first film. The rose colored glasses have been ripped from our eyes with this sequel, and we have been shown that the first film was a lucky happenstance. Waste your time on something else – something with a little more effort.
It’s tough to give Hot Tub Time Machine 2 a low score for comedy, because it does have one or two really big laughs. But they come as a result of some really juvenile jokes and there are genuine stretches where the film’s comedy falls flat. You can see where someone must have thought the material was funny, but that doesn’t change the fact it does not work. At times it’s actually kind of cringe worthy watching some of the jokes play out, because they hang a little too long. Had those moments been funny, the scene would have been perfect. But since they’re not, it just becomes awkward. It might be fair to say that if you found Hot Tub Time Machine‘s three returning characters funny you might get enough out of this sequel’s comedy, but there’s no guarantees. Better to avoid the risk and wait for a rental.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Steve Pink
- Screenwriter(s): Josh Heald
- Cast: Rob Corddry (Lou)Craig Robinson (Nick)Clark Duke (Jacob) Adam Scott (Adam Jr.)Gillian Jacobs (Jill)CHevy Chase (Hot Tub Repairman)
- Cinematographer: Declann Quinn
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Christophe Beck
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA