UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Steve Pink
Writer: Josh Heald
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Chevy Chase
Synopsis: When their prosperous future falls apart, the friends from the first film take another dip into the eponymous magical pool in the hope of changing things for the better.
The first Hot Tub Time Machine was an R-rated hit in 2010 scooping enough money to bring the gang back together for a second dip. Unfortunately, the recipe does not work second time around, with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 a crass, nonsensical mess of a sequel.
Lou (Rob Corddry) is revelling in his newfound success as a result of the events of the first film, alongside his friend Nick (Craig Robinson) and son Jacob (Clark Duke). When he is shot in the penis at a party, the trio decide to go back into their unorthodox time machine in order to prevent it happening. There they come across the son of their friend from the first film, Adam (Adam Scott) and his wife-to-be Jill (Gillian Jacobs).
The issue with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is that, in lieu of the conceptual originality that gave the first film a purpose, it leans on crass comedy like a crutch. Troubling gags about “dudes fucking dudes” and casual rape humour take centre stage as any innate likeability the characters might once have had ebbs away.
| "Let’s go check out the future strip club situation."
It doesn’t help that the time travel mechanics are needlessly complicated. The best films of the temporal confusion genre, from Back to the Future to Groundhog Day, succeed by making their time travel as simple as possible. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 makes a half-arsed attempt to explain its time travel in the obligatory scene of whiteboard-aided exposition, but then gives up and lets it unfold in incoherent fashion.
Rob Corddry’s promotion to leading man after John Cusack’s departure is another poor decision. His goofy douchebag character needs a straight man to bounce off. Amplified like this, he is simply insufferable and entirely unsympathetic. Craig Robinson and Clark Duke each get very little screentime, with much of what they do get focusing on jokes about homosexual intercourse and how inherently hilarious that obviously is.
The issue, across the board, is that Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is never funny enough to justify its grim sense of humour. There’s none of the knowingly ridiculous irreverence of the first film and the well of originality clearly ran dry early in the writing process.
| "You look like Gandalf the Poor."
This should be an example of just how wrong the received wisdom around comedy sequels is. If a film makes a tonne of money – especially one as singularly bizarre as Hot Tub Time Machine – that does not mean a sequel will automatically be successful. As Hot Tub Time Machine 2 proves, you still have to write some jokes.
Pop or Poop?
Despite being based on a solidly original comedy film, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is something of an ideas-free zone.
Rob Corddry does not work as the lead character of the franchise and the jokes about dicks, anal sex and rape are unjustified and uncomfortable.
Don’t hold your breath for a threequel. Maybe in an alternate timeline.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.