Movie review: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2
Directed By Steve Pink
Starring Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Lennon, Collette Wolfe
Rated R, Comedy, Sci-Fi, 93 minutes
In the 2010 comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine” three middle-aged buddies and a teen were partying in a hotel hot tub when the group was transported back to
the 1980s. As the guys attempted to repair the mistakes of their youth some of them also decided to cash in on their knowledge of the future. Lou (Rob Corddry) became an Internet billionaire, inventing the “Lougle” search engine. Nick (Craig Robinson) used his musical ability to steal and record future hits from a variety of pop artists.
In “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” we find the guys learning fame and fortune buys lots of stuff, but doesn’t guarantee happiness. Lou lacks empathy and emotional connections. He doesn’t think twice about Lougle’s increasing marketplace irrelevancy, nor about taking advantage of his own nerdy son Jacob (Clark Duke), whom Lou turns into the butler. Lou’s money buys him a wardrobe straight out of “Prince Valiant” along with a spiteful trophy girlfriend and a flotilla of party hearty friends — most of whom can’t stand him.
Lou’s one true friend is Nick, who confides to Lou that he sometimes feels bad about stealing other artist’s creations. Otherwise, both take for granted their unearned wealth and celebrity, until Lou is shot, obliging Nick and Jacob to join Lou on another trip in the time machine, which Lou has conveniently imported from the hotel to his mansion.
The trio plans to go back in time, but the hot tub, which takes them where they need to go instead of where they want to go, catapults them 10 years into the future.
Having become an entitled party animal, Lou tells Nick and Jacob to find his killer while Lou himself goes clubbing — until Lou discovers that failing to search for his own killer causes his body to flicker and go dim, as if he no longer exists.
It’s one of the film’s better jokes, along with driverless cars that don’t take kindly to impolite users.
Unfortunately, the plot and most of the film’s gags feel like they were sketched out on a cocktail napkin by late-night partiers and never refined. Here and there a joke succeeds, but more often the story takes ugly graphic turns or depends on equally ugly, unfunny humor.
Filling in for John Cusack, who apparently had a better offer, is Adam Scott playing the son of Cusack’s character, Adam Jr. Thirty-ish when the guys meet him in 2025, Adam is a devoted wearer of “skants” (skirt-pants) but is unable to put the guys in touch with his father.
Unlike chapter one, the sequel sloppily meanders, failing to establish convincing connections between the main characters and, worse, largely fails to amuse us, squandering what goodwill the original movie earned. Too bad director John Pink can’t ride the hot tub back in time and reconsider his options. Say bye-bye to an ain’t-gonna-be franchise.
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