‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ not worth second dip



Hot Tub Time Machine 2

By Vann Fulfs Film Critic

“If you could get a second chance, would you do it all again?” wonders “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”’s balding, immodest lead character Lou, played by Rob Corddry (“Childrens Hospital”) at a party he threw in his own honor. Lou is shot in the groin, providing a catalyst that drives the careless plot of this sequel to the 2010 sleeper hit. The gang piles into the series’ trademark hot tub time machine and is catapulted into the future to find the shooter.

The conception of this film is nearly as inexplicable as its plot. Without Adam, the likable lead role from the first “Hot Tub Time Machine” film played by John Cusack, the sequel loses any semblance of charm, relying on increasingly depressing lowbrow gags. 

While the first film ended on an upbeat note with the main characters using their time-travel knowledge to become millionaires, the sequel shows the grim side of living the dream. For Nick, played by Craig Robinson (“This Is The End,” “Pineapple Express”), the music industry has been exhausting. After a winning streak in songwriting—by stealing the century’s greatest hits—Nick’s attempt to write something original is an unceremonious flop. Jacob, played by Clark Duke (“Greek,” “Kick-Ass”), works unhappily as a butler indentured to his wealthy father’s estate, his days consisting of smoking weed and playing Xbox. Doubling as Jacob’s dad, Lou could not be happier in his small world of fart jokes until he is dealt what may be a mortal wound.

The time travel reverses the fortunes of Lou and Jacob, but the film fails to derive much mileage from this turn of events, probably out of fear  that anything other than crude juvenile humor would derail the formula that paid off so handsomely in the previous movie.

Much of the film is a surreal trip back to the worst days of middle school when sweaty boys would sit cross-legged in their parents’ basement discussing the finer points of sex.  At one point, Jacob’s wife seductively glides topless and smiling into the frame and Lou, in a hormonally-driven stupor, repeats, “boobs, boobs, boobs.” The rest of the film takes place at or on the way to parties, and fostering shallow

character development. 

Writer Josh Heald’s (“Mardi Gras: Spring Break”) remarkably bland style is just as lazy as the characters in the movie.  By virtue of its unsubtle comedy, a cavalier attitude toward rape and atavistic views on gender roles, the producers must have thought this film would score high with an audience of teen boys.  Yet, oddly enough, it didn’t, earning a meager $5.3 million when it opened on the weekend of Feb. 20.  Most likely, the franchise, is mercifully dead, which is something those attached to the production should have figured out in the film’s development stage—that the original audience has grown up and moved past this mindset.  If penis jokes are all the film has to offer, Lou’s suicidal thoughts

are understandable.