Movie review: Second dip in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ fails to live up to original
A time machine is the only means to get back the 93 minutes wasted on “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” The sequel to director Steve Pink’s (“Accepted”) 2010 laugh-a-minute, time-travel raunch fest finds itself stuck in a warp of recycled gags centered around boobs and bodily fluids.
While far from perfect, the original nicely captured the fatuousness of the ’80s. The characters and jokes were hilarious. I liked it better than “The Hangover.” The sequel can’t hold its jock.
John Cusack wisely sits this one out. But the rest of the time-traveling gang — Weymouth’s Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke — spend this second installment jumping 10 years into the future (where dogs ride hover boards) to prevent the murder of Corddry’s Lou Dorchen, the hyperactive, foul-mouthed, boozebag.
Lou — now CEO of “Lougle” — is so unapologetically uncouth that you’d hate him even more if he weren’t played by someone as endearing as Corddry, who flat-out stole the first movie. Here, it seems, a little Corddry would go a long way.
But he’s not the problem. Not even close. Corddry (“Children’s Hospital”) and the other actors, including newbie Adam Scott (“Parks & Recreation”), are as game as ever, but Josh Heald’s seriously unfunny script incessantly intrudes.
The “You look like” running gag is the movie’s funniest bit, as the boys riff on each other’s appearances. As in, “You look like an orchestra conductor for stray cats.” And I suspect much of those lines were improvised. The constant references to other time-travel movies like “Looper,” “Terminator” and “Back to the Future” don’t help, either. It only reminds that this gimmick has been done before. And better.
“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” begins with a faux-documentary on where the guys are now after altering their once-sorry lives via time travel. Lou is the rock star-turned-tech-mogul. Robinson’s Nick is a songwriter, who in the past stole the lyrics to some of the biggest songs of the ’90s, like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.” (Loeb makes a cameo.)
Lou’s son, Jacob (Duke), is living in his father’s shadow. At a party at Lou’s New Orleans mansion, he’s shot in the groin. That sends the trio ahead to the future (shades of “Looper”) to track down the gunman and prevent the shooting. In 2025, they meet Cusack’s character’s son, Adam Yates Jr. (Scott), who lends a hand and gets anally violated on “Choozy Doozy,” a TV show hosted by Christian Slater.
Aside from the time-travel component, the plot is very much like “Hangover.” It’s four guys running around an exotic locale (here it’s a wasted French Quarter) partying, getting caught in ridiculous situations and trying to piece together events into a narrative. And like the “Hangover” sequels, this second dip in the hot tub doesn’t live up to the original. If I had a time machine, I’d travel back to advise Pink to quit while he was ahead.
Dana Barbuto may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @dbarbuto_Ledger.
Movie review: “HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2.” Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence. Cast includes Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase and Gillian Jacobs. Grade: C-.