'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'
The biggest joke in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ was the fact that the movie even existed at all. It was beyond idiotic and that was the charm. ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ doubles down on this dumbness, and at times can be tough to watch. And yet, it has laughs. The original was a guilty pleasure and the sequel is an even guiltier pleasure – one that might test the patience of even the most forgiving fan of dumb comedy.
After the previous film’s adventures in hot tub time travel, this superfluous sequel kicks off with our plucky Jacuzzi joy seekers living in a fantasy timeline of their own creation. Rob Corddry’s lovable douchebag Lou is a billionaire who used his knowledge of history to create the internet and a few hair metal hits. Nick (Craig Robinson) has a rousing music career of similarly borrowed pop hits and opens the film with a pretty damn amusing music video rendition of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.” Jacob (Clark Duke) gets to share in his father’s fortune, but is otherwise trapped in his own private hell. Meanwhile John Cusack’s character is mysteriously absent because the actor decided that one of these movies was plenty.
From there, Lou gets a shotgun blast to his nethers at a party and the trio who signed on for the sequel hop into a hot tub to prevent the murder. This time, they end up in the future, because why not? Apparently, Lou’s killer is from the future. Why, you ask? Look, don’t think too hard about this. It’s ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ fergodsakes. The important thing is that the gang are now in the future for more gross-out gags, while Adam Scott was enlisted to fill the Cusack-sized hole in the script and the likes of Jason Jones, Kumail Nanjiani and Gillian Jacobs also pop in for extra funnies.
Obviously ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 1’ was a pretty dumb movie. That goes without saying. (Hell, that was the only reason for its existence.) Somehow, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ scrapes the bottom of that toilet bowl even deeper, for both good and ill. Thinking about the plot for longer than five consecutive seconds will A) cause a brain aneurism and B) reveal that the movie makes no sense whatsoever.
Sure, ‘Hot Tub 1’ wasn’t exactly a model for effective screenwriting, but at least it held together a little bit. This script is as flimsy as any Hollywood movie ever produced from a story structure perspective, to the point that it even feels insulting at times. However, there’s no denying that the laughs are there. Yes, the humor revels in every possible filthy bodily function, gay-panic gag, pop culture parody, and any other form of low comedy that’s ever been created. But the hit-to-miss ratio is pretty good, and the entire cast is populated with genuine comedy talents who can sell the hell out of every idiotic joke. So, you’ll laugh pretty hard even if you’re too embarrassed to admit it afterwards.
What made ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 1’ a bit of a cult hit was the fact that it was a deeply stupid comedy that was clearly made by smart people who knew exactly what they were doing and weren’t afraid to wink at the audience. That happens in bits and pieces in the sequel, just not quite enough. Look, the cast is filled with talent and they get big laughs (especially Corddry, whose willingness to embarrass himself on screen in every conceivable way is actually kind of admirable), but the sense of irony that made the wall-to-wall idiocy more palatable last time is pretty much absent here. It’s still fun enough and will pull enough giggles out of you that you’ll feel the monetary cost of admission was worth it. As for the brain-cell killing and embarrassment costs, well you won’t be quite off the hook in the same way this time. Consider it a deeply guilty pleasure, one that crosses the line into a downright shameful pleasure for fans of this particular brand of comedic lunacy.
I can’t in good conscience call ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ a good movie, but I can confirm that it’s a funny one. Whether or not that’s enough for you to commit to a second round in the tub is up to you. Just don’t set your expectations too high, and try to think a little as possible. Like a night of binge drinking in a Jacuzzi, the ride is fun but the wrinkly hangover might not be worth it.