Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the kind of film that makes me question my own sanity. It trades in the original’s kernel of a sincere concept (which was a Back to the Future parody to begin with) for an endless stream of sight gags, rape jokes, and halfhearted ad libs, none of which seem to have anything to do with each other. This is a film in which nano-robots are drained from one character’s balls and then sprayed all over another character’s face. Ten seconds later, everyone acts like it never happened. Is that funny? After watching this film, I honestly can’t tell anymore.
After going back to 1986, the sequel picks up with our gang of idiots capitalizing on their knowledge of the future for maximum profit. Lou (Rob Corddry) is a billionaire thanks to his inventing Google, Nick (Craig Robinson) is a pop superstar quickly running out of hit songs to steal, and Lou’s son, Jacob (Clark Duke), is… Lou’s butler. At a party celebrating Lou’s success, a mystery assassin shoots Lou point blank in the balls. (Get it? Just like he said it would happen in the first movie.) Nick and Jacob drag dickless Lou into the hot tub time machine to go back in time and stop the killer. Instead, they wake up in the year 2025, a future in which relatively little has changed. They try to track down Adam (John Cusack, only seen in a photograph), who they assume will know where to find Lou’s murderer. Instead, they meet his son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott), who tags along hoping to finally meet his father.
Explaining even that much feels overly complicated, and that’s really only the first act of the movie. Basically, a bunch of idiots get rich, and then go into the future to discover what a bunch of rich idiots they have become. If that sounds kind of circular and not all that interesting to you, then congratulations, you don’t need to see Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
Underneath all of the film’s increasingly ludicrous hijinks is a half-assed murder mystery. Who shot Lou’s dick off? It’s a question that barely deserves answering, because the first ten minutes illustrate just how much everyone in Lou’s life absolutely hates him. Multiple suspects are established, including Daily Show regular Jason Jones, but none of the details are all that important. What is important is that Lou totally deserves to get shot in the balls, and I kind of hate screenwriter Jason Heald for writing a movie that suggests this is a problem worth solving. When the main character of your movie is utterly irredeemable, it takes some serious talent to pull him back from the brink, and that’s not a talent Heald has figured out yet.
Rob Corddry nails the role, for what it’s worth. Lou is a sociopath with zero moral compass, but Corddry plays him like he’s Bugs Bunny. He worms his way into and out of situations with remarkable ease, and seems even more impossible to kill. In one of the film’s more ridiculous running gags, Lou verbally assaults a smart car, which then decides to murder him. He eventually talks the car down out of homicide mode, but all the while, Corddry has this “smartest guy in the room” look on his face, like he has everything in control. It would be great if we didn’t already hate Lou so goddamn much. I honestly wanted to see a car murder a dude in a comedy movie. That would have at least gotten a laugh out of me.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a prank. It has to be. There is no conceivable universe in which I can spin this film’s plot into something that makes any rational sense. Sure, it’s all just a goof and I shouldn’t take any of it this seriously, but that’s the problem. There’s nothing holding this film together but a bunch of goofs, and most of them cross the line from funny into straight up torture. The harder I try and the longer I write, the crazier and more delusional my words describing this film must sound. It’s almost as though Jason Heald and director Steve Pink have it out for everyone who dumped all over their first film. They get their revenge by forcing otherwise perfectly sane film critics to write things like “and then Craig Robinson is forced to rape Adam Scott on live TV while game show host Christian Slater threatens to electrocute them both to death.” Joke’s on me, I guess. Mission accomplished.Liked This? Share It!