Director: Steve Pink
Cast: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase
Screenplay: Josh Heald
93 mins. Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence.
After being pushed back each year, 2015 finally saw the release of the anticipated sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Was it worth it?
After changing the future by fixing the past, Lou (TV’s Children Hospital, Sex Tape), Nick (Craig Robinson, This is the End, Get on Up), and Jacob (Clark Duke, TV’s Greek, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas) have been living the good life. That is, until Lou is attacked at a party and his friends are forced to travel through time to save him. The plot only gets more convoluted as it goes.
Hot Tub Time Machine is one of my all-time favorite comedies. I was absolutely shocked by how enjoyable the film ended up being. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 didn’t give the same reaction. This film took everything great from the first film and inverted it into something upsetting. First of all, the loss of John Cusack, who would’ve cost more money but would’ve been worth it. The way he was written out is all the more upsetting as they just sort of don’t know where he is but there are all clues that point him out as a possible villain. It just doesn’t make sense in the context of the story. John Cusack does return in a two-second cameo in the unrated version but it doesn’t help.
Without Cusack, we end up with a story led by Rob Corddry’s Lou, a wholly unlikable character. The only reason he works in the first film is that Cusack’s Adam is the more likable lead. Even Craig Robinson comes off as a less-likable person, which I thought was impossible.
As far as new characters go, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott, TV’s Parks and Recreation, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) is the underutilized son of John Cusack’s character that we meet in the future. The timeline is confusingly placed here and only furthers the unlikable way we view Adam Sr. The normally comedic Adam Scott in the role is wasted as his character comes off as too stupid to be funny. He doesn’t get the opportunity to flex his acting chops.
It’s hard to blame these actors because of the horribly confusing and ever-increasingly-convoluted screenplay. This is some bad writing put forth into a bad movie. Director Steve Pink (Accepted, About Last Night) seems to have lost what little good ability he had since the original film.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 has a few moments that feel like they are about to redeem the film, but each time it happens, the film falls back into the minutiae of regrettable choices that serve to demean the film and leave one with a horrible taste in the mouth. Do with that what you will.
-Kyle A. Goethe
For my review of Steve Pink’s Hot Tub Time Machine, click here.