We head back to well….or the Hot Tub.
I was scared to watch this film, I had enjoyed the first film despite all logic and the idea of a sequel to a film with a flimsy premise, minus the main draw actor seems like an uphill battle. Unfortunately I was right.
The premise is laid out competently, protagonist Lou has leveraged time travel to make himself a wealth business mogul rock star and subsequently resulted in annoying enough people to create a mystery when he is shot in the genitals at a party. The gang use the Hot Tub Time Machine of the title to go into the future to solve the murder mystery, finding themselves in a parallel universe which is actually the past of their current future. Probably. Missing John Cusack’s Adam, Nick, Jacob and Lou join with his son Adam Jr to hunt the would be murderer, detouring through hallucinogenic drugs, game shows and a wedding. If you were expecting a logical plot that progressed story through consequence and tension, then this really isn’t your movie. We move from scene to scene because script had multiple pages and a budget. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a collection of jokes, which is the only way to judge it.
One of the biggest problems with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the humour, so frequently they go back to the first movie for inspiration. We see returning characters like Chevy Chase’s mysterious Repairman throwing in a Caddyshack reference before disappearing to not be referenced again. The time travel sequence has the same bear as the first movie. We get the same awkward Jacob interaction with women. They even play the same “you look like a cross between” jokes ad nausea. The last of which is probably the biggest laugh in the movie and is delivered well, but is standard insult humour that the highlights of a Comedy Central roast could provide in 2 minutes on Youtube. The film also often looks for homophobic awkwardness for humour, a game show where the contestants are placed into a situation where they must have sex, the hesitation of Lou and Nick played for maximum laughs and then returned to frequently. If this movie had been released in the mid 90s no doubt some of the humour would seem fresh, but in 2015 it is stale. Offensive funny is funny, generic offensive is boring.
Each of the characters are presented as extremely unlikable. The acting aside, the script tells us to hate everyone we are meant to be watching. Hot Tub Time Machine has John Cusack playing a likable character, the sequel gives us a drug using egomaniac, a frustrated creatively devoid thief and a socially awkward walk over pessimist. I actively enjoyed watching the characters get their comeuppance in the early stages of the film, their emotional revelations towards the end falling flat and overall making the movie wholly meaningless. The inclusion of Adam Scott’s, Adam Jnr is the one attempt to deliver a likable character, but even he is plain to a fault, sickeningly sincere and engaged to another sickeningly average person. What is to like here? Why should i care?
There are laughs to be had occasionally. As the premise of the film unfolds there is a few jokes to pop culture, current politics and predictions of the future. Inside jokes provide a chorttle and some insult humour hits, but the film is mostly a drab affair. The 5 year gap between films killed any goodwill towards the first film i may have had and as a stand alone this film is near unwatchable. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a waste of a film, a waste of the talent that has shown themselves humour and likable elsewhere, a waste of a sequel that given a cohesive script could have created a franchise and a waste of a Steve Pink who has quality John Cusack vehicles like High Fidelity and Grosse Point Blank on his resume. Watch the original again before bothering with this film.