Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – Review

Did anyone ask for Hot Tub Time Machine 2? Seriously, I know that the first movie was fairly well received. I liked it well enough. But, after five years, were people just itching for a sequel? I guess MGM and Paramount decided that that it was time to remove one of the main characters, cut the budget in half, and release a sequel. I can’t really fault them, considering they started producing the sequel two years ago and hired the same director and one of the writers to execute it. But, it seems like lightning can’t strike twice for Hot Tub Time Machine.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (HTTM2) picks up a few years after the ending of the first film. Lou (Rob Corddry) has created a technology empire and Nick (Craig Robinson) is an award winning musician, but they owe their success to abusing knowledge of the future. Not everyone has been quite so lucky, as Jacob (Clark Duke) has become Lou’s butler. Lou throws a party to celebrate his success, but he gets shot and the trio have to travel back in time to stop his murder. During the ritual of getting royally, blackout drunk in the hot tub, something goes haywire and it sends them ten years into the future. Luckily, the mystical time-wizard Chevy Chase makes his cameo to tell the group that the hot tub sends you where you need to go, not where you want to go. Deciding that the killer must have traveled back from the future, they search for Adam and meet up with Adam’s son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). Then the gang floats from set piece to set piece in search of Lou’s future-past-killer.

The first film owes much of its success to the chemistry shared by the main characters. They had a good balance between likability and ridiculousness. Despite Adam Scott’s enjoyable introduction to the sequel, the group has lost that special blend. The characters seem to all have devolved into pricks without much to like about them at all. This is very nearly redeemed by the actors’ pure comedic ability and the frequent ad-libbed jokes, but even those get tired after the first few sessions of, “You look like…”

The main issue with HTTM2 is that it doesn’t really strike the mark with humor. There are certainly a handful of scenes and jokes that easily get a good belly laugh, but those jokes are a handful in a movie that rapid fires jokes at the audience. I’m all for the occasional crass joke, but Corddry shouting “SHOTGUN TO THE DICK” at a roomful of people is more awkward than funny. Combine the below-average jokes, clunky whodunit plotline, and the uncomfortably forced, “You’re just like your Father!” scenes and it mixes into an unsatisfactory way to kill ninety minutes.

I’m not sure what the studios were expecting by putting out Hot Tub Time Machine 2. If they were expecting a big, sexy pile of money, they may have actually put a little effort into this sequel. Unfortunately, all of the clever quips and genuinely funny moments are drowned out by the massive amount of jokes that are trying too hard. The movie almost feels like a fever dream; it’s a movie that I can’t really believe took the time to be made. Hot Tub Time Machine 2’s few good qualities aren’t worth sitting through the rest of the film.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

2.5/5

2.5-stars

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