Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Let’s go back to very late 2009. I was still in college and people were using Facebook since there was no Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or other form of social media to fill up our limitless down time. This was when we truly shared every little thing on Facebook because we didn’t yet know or understand the consequences of our oversharing. I remember specifically when the trailer for the first “Hot Tub Time Machine” was released. Every status update ripped into it and I remember thinking, “There’s no way in hell this could be remotely good.” Despite my gut reaction, I still saw and was pleasantly surprised. So rewind to not too long ago to 2014 and seeing a trailer for the sequel and thinking the exact same thing. I am once again wrong, but not by much.
This sequel brings back nearly everyone from the first, except John Cusack, who is jokingly mentioned when his character’s absence is brought up. Craig Robinson is still loveable as Nick, Rob Corddry once again brings back his Danny McBride-like contemptible Lou, and then there’s Clark Duke who plays Jacob. Sorry. He’s still just a character who’s kind of a fourth wheel (technically third wheel now) to the group. Since the first movie, the trio of used their knowledge of the future to augment their life. Nick steals ideas from songs that have not yet been crafted, Lou simply blurts out technological advances before their time and Jacob just follows along the coattails of Lou. Like I said, fourth wheel.
Of course Lou is still a miserable troll who irks everyone who crosses his path. So when someone shoots him at one of his lavish parties, they must use the hot tub time machine to go into the past to find who shot him and why. Of course in this movie, they go into the future, but create an alternate time line so technically it’s still the past…I’ll just avoid the confusion and say that they’re in the future which will result in them finding out what happened in the past. They at least make light of this troublesome plot.
What makes this sequel admirable is it’s ability to find every way to jump the shark while drawing out a filthy laugh from you. “22 Jump Street” set the mark for making a comedy sequel, but “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” manages to point a few things that are worth noting. They manage to point out the stolen sci-fi formulas they’re playing with and the absurdity of them. Also by the movies end, they manage to point out some of the predictable set-ups that today’s comedies have fallen into. When a unnecessary comedy sequel points that out, it might be time for the rest of Hollywood’s comedy writers to take note and change up their comedic ingredients.
I should probably quit heaping praise on this movie because it’s not without it’s flaws. This is still a movie that has to introduce another character to demote Jacob to fourth wheel. The introduction of Adam Scott as the son of John Cusack’s character is welcome, but doesn’t quite fill the hole that Cusack left behind. Cusack provided a reliable straight man while Scott is simply the virgin who gets to pop his party cherry. It’s fun, but not the right component for the group that needs a voice of sanity.
Ultimately the movie is choppy, but clever enough at trying to stay new. It’s unwarranted, but funny enough for a one time viewing for fans of the original. I wish it would have maken light of the fact that it’s a redundant sequel to a bizarre comedy. Maybe when “Hot Tub Time Machine 3” (let’s hope not) rolls around, it’ll realize how much of a cash grab for Paramount Pictures it has become and create the ultimate meta, middle finger.