At one point you could actually find some ounce of redeeming quality in the original ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ where the movie demonstrated its playful foolishness for unexpected thoughtful insight involving a bunch of weary dudes in stagnation with their sub par lives. The gimmick of an unlikely hot tub magically transporting these silly-minded saps back in time when their youthful existences were fun and carefree that meant something in contrast to the nowadays malaise that plagues them actually had merit, to a certain point of course. Gleefully, the art of discovering the inner man-child mentality was a cockeyed challenge in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ . This is not to say that the original ‘Hot Tub’ was without its transparent banality. Still, it at least had a wacky purpose of over-the-top observation in mindless men looking to get back into the boundless craziness of their early years of arrested development.
Well, in the tradition of inevitable practice of sequelitis comes the monotonous ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’…a blatant excuse to heighten and celebrate whatever remaining applauded lunacy the predecessor had in making its misguided mark the first time around. Relentlessly pointless, tasteless and desperately attention-getting, this second serving of ‘Hot Tub ‘overflows its witless waters with jerky Jacuzzi-style humor so uninspired in lukewarm laughter that you might consider drowning yourself to save the agony of its time-traveling tepidness.
The tone in the first ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ wanted to take a jittery joyride in reshaping the doldrums of these present-day morons and whisking them back to the mid-1980s where they can discover their fratboy fantasies as an escape route. Now, director Steve Pink returns to the splashy scene-of-the-crime as his tacky time-traveling hipsters want to engage in more naughty-minded brushes with eccentric personalities and places. The second time revisiting this anemic ‘Back To The Future’-esque formula finds the hot tub hotshots ten years into the future as they have taken advantage of exploiting their experiences through time travel. Yippee for them!
Screenwriter Josh Heald’s lame story never taps into the freshened fervor of the magical hot tub or its band of traveling hucksters as the movie buries itself in arbitrary, manic messiness. ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ has really nothing to say or contribute to its empty-minded nuttiness. If you are game for gawking at bouncy babes (okay, this is not altogether a bad thing to endure), tolerating varied penis-style jokes, being exposed to tired time-traveling gags and fussing over the presence of an assassin on the lurk then jumping into this particular installment of ‘Hot Tub’ will warm your stillborn funnybone. Otherwise, the rest of us will probably prefer to blow bubbles out of chlorine pool water.
The ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ rabble-rousers are back in this sorry sequel sans top-billed star John Cusack (Cusack’s Adam Yates character is missing from the proceedings, a lucky timed absence for both Cusack and his alter ego). So the floor belongs completely to the other players in Rob Corddry’s Lou, Craig Robinson’s Nick and Clark Duke’s Jacob. Together, they all capitalise on their hot tub-related hubris and profit fabulously in their money-making ventures.
Lou’s creation of the Internet search engine “Lougle” (yeah, a festive take-off on Google) has made him a bundle of cash. For Nick, his star-power as a musician (based on the creative back’s of the other artists he stole from) has landed him comfortable pop cultural status. Jacob, who we learned was Lou’s son previously, is piggybacking off of Lou’s online business success as his personal servant. When an assassin decides to rub out Lou (he is shot in the private parts…there you go…the ready-made juvenile wee-wee fodder in gear), the guys decide to go back to their trusty hot tub to take them back and curtail the assassin’s deed but that is to no avail. Instead, Lou, Nick and Jacob are thrust ten years into the future. The question remains: can the time-traveling trio catch the would-be assassin? How come one gets the sudden urge to automatically root for the killer-at-large?
Sure, the criticisms lodged towards anyone that will rail against the intentional nonsense of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’s will be inevitable. ‘Hey idiot… the ‘Hot Tub Time Machin’e flicks are not suppose to win Oscars so stop being so fussy and overly critical.’ Okay, duly noted. Still, regurgitating a comical time machine romp back in 2010 that was questionable to begin with as it tries to mine the same kind of hackneyed hilarity leaves something to be desired. The gross-out nature of the smirking showcase lacks heft and feels woefully childish. The whole affair screams volumes of strain and desperation as Pink wants the forced lewd laughs to settle as opposed to trying to present a rollicking narrative that actually presents a sense of zany adventure without leaning on its noxious fumes.
For the sheer sake of being sophomoric and obnoxiously outlandish, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ struggles mightily in trying to plant a guilt pleasure grin on one’s face. Sadly, there are plenty that will be receptive to this lazy and raucous time-traveling tripe with the transparent titillation.
Hot Tub Time Travel Machine 2 (2015)
Starring: Rob Cordday, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase, Adam Scott and Collette Wolfe
Directed by: Steve Pink
MPAA Rating: R
Genre: Comedy & Fantasy/Time Travel Adventure
Critic’s rating: * star (out of 4 stars)
(c) Frank Ochieng 2015