While I understand a filmmaker’s want to go above and beyond when creating a sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 suffers from a serious case of “youngest child” syndrome. Steve Pink’s original time-traveling period-piece is a rather funny endeavor, only because it’s executed with a sensible craziness that boasts decent helpings of immature yucks to balance out some seriously rad 80s humor.
The sequel, trying to live up to its big brother’s legacy, essentially runs around with its dick in its hands for 90 minutes, craving the same adoring attention without exemplifying any of the previously successful methods. It’s basically Dumb And Dumber To all over again – take everything you thought worked from the original, and repurpose it a billion times over before absolutely killing whatever nostalgic enjoyment might have been attainable. Welcome back, gang!
After becoming the father of the internet (and an even bigger asshole), Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry) continues to live out his “Violator” nickname as the most powerful man on the planet. His best friend Nick (Craig Robinson) and son Jacob (Clark Duke) are also finding success in their own personal endeavors (without John Cusack), but their immense personal gain starts to take a selfish toll. It’s only Lou who never thinks twice about exploiting the past, as he carelessly lives like only the superstar lead singer of Mötley Loü could – until he gets shot in the dick. With no other option (like medical care), Jacob and Nick get Lou into the magical tub that once brought them good fortune, but instead find themselves stuck ten years in the future. After coming to the conclusion that some crazy Terminator plotline has them in an alternate reality, the team must find Lou’s killer before he can go back in time and finish the job – again.
When a drunken Mardi Gras enthusiast rubs his cock n’ balls on a full-sized window within the first few minutes of a film, there’s no real secret about what’s coming next. Writer Josh Heald wastes absolutely no time slapping viewers in the face with the first of MANY phallic gags, as Hot Tub Time Machine 2 finds a way to work male genitalia into every single scene. There’s a strange, almost worrisome obsession with man’s one-eyed-monster, almost as if Pink and Heald had just discovered a penis for the very first time. The best representation of the comedy afoot would be equivalent to playing a real-life game of Whack-A-Mole where Ron Jeremy smacks you around with his member just when you think there can’t possibly be another dirty reference. Halfway through, I found myself wishing that I, too, had a time machine, to warn my past self to avoid this filthy mess of a hot tub “remake.”
Part of what makes Hot Tub Time Machine so enjoyable is seeing Cusack, Duke, Robinson and Corddry getting into wacky hijinks, because each actor brings a strong personality to the table. By removing Cusack’s main character from the mix, you need an equally strong linchpin to connect the three other personas, but unfortunately that person isn’t Adam Scott. Cusack’s role is a main player in Hot Tub Time Machine, while Scott’s character Adam is nothing but an observer. Corddry, Robinson and Duke are promoted from being comedic relief to filling in for Cusack’s leading antics, but there’s an unfortunate market saturation that takes place without their captain’s steady hand to guide the way. Throw in Adam Scott, and all you’ve got is some more insult fodder, and nothing that resembles a cohesive comedic unit worthy of uproarious technological sex gags.
Looking towards the future, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 does its best to dream up funky gadgetry and brilliant innovations, but in proper juvenility, all we get is a laser-lookin’ male sex simulator. Then again, are we really surprised? Making good on Hot Tub Time Machine‘s promise of guy on guy action (Corddry and Robinson after losing a bet), Heald ensures that audiences get their fill of anal penetration and sticky white fluids this time around, because we all felt a little teased I suppose? Again, we go back to the younger child running around clenching his donger, just hoping you’ll laugh because his big brother kind of used the same brash tactics. When in doubt, pump Corddry full of cocaine or make him tell someone to “fuck off” – that seems to be the mentality here, folks.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is just another effortless sequel, marred by a hopeful recycling of what seemed to work in the past. A major part of the equation is missing this time around (Cusack), but simply multiplying the other factors can’t mask an end result that fails to strike a similar amount of lovable debauchery.
Aside from Adam Scott’s predictably psychedelic “electric ladybug” trip (an out-of-character staple in any Adam Scott movie), we’re given an overbearing level of each character in their rawest, most unfiltered form. We can take the Violator’s hateful self-abuse when he’s later calmed by a clear-thinking Cusack, but left alone to his own devices, hearing Corddry scream “Fuck that!” for the billionth time just doesn’t pack the same “witty” sting. This is the perverse nature of Hot Tub Time Machine 2, a film that would gleefully ejaculate semen onto the first ten rows of your local cinema if the technology existed – be happy it doesn’t.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the kid in class who makes fart noises for a quick laugh, only he doesn't stop for an hour and a half - and he never gets funnier.