Tweetable Takeaway: Show me the alternate universe in the future where Hot Tub Time Machine 2 doesn’t exist.
By: Wil Loper, Contributor
I could write the lamest joke right here and it would be funnier than HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2. I could write an obituary and it would be funnier than Hot Tub Machine 2. There’s more hilarity in those two sentences than in the entirety of Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Watching the movie I could only ask one question: What if the characters traveled to an alternate universe in the future where this movie doesn’t exist, and how can I get there as well?
The movie begins with the gang continuing to exploit the present with their knowledge of the future. Lou (Rob Corddry) is head of Google knockoff, Lou-gle. Nick (Craig Robinson) is singing Black Eyed Peas tunes before they exist. Jacob (Clark Duke) as Lou’s son still isn’t doing much of anything, however. John Cusack is inexplicably missing, apparently he wasn’t even asked, as if it was a foregone thought the movie would be terrible and Cusack would automatically pass. They were probably right, and it saved them the trouble of rewriting the script to take Cusack’s character Adam out. Taking Adam’s place is Adam Scott as his son, Adam.
Instead of traveling to the past, the gang travels to the future after Lou is shot in the crotch (dick jokes are automatically funny, right?!). Lou should obviously be dead, but in a diagram that is supposed to explain everything, Jacob draws how they have created an alternate timeline where Lou survives and have to find his killer, because somehow the past is still in front of them. This explanation makes zero sense, and all I could think of while it was being spelled out was the quote from Pixar’s Cars, “Turn right to go left!” Of course, it makes perfect sense!
Before the gang can start tracking down Lou’s killer, they have to look in a mirror and make “You look like…” jokes to no end. The trend of “You _____ like…” with the blank being any number of verbs has started to outstay its welcome after becoming popular in Apatow flicks, but can still occasionally be funny. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 tries its hand at about 24 of these and can’t manage to think of one clever line. Only near the end of the movie, when Adam Scott’s character tries his hand at one and half-assedly subverts it does the movie show a little ingenuity.
Throughout the movie Lou just wants to get drunk and go to a strip club instead of finding his killer, and flickers in and out of existence, but doesn’t seem to care much. When the protagonist of your movie doesn’t care about achieving the most important goal of his life, it’s tough for the audience to get much invested either. That’s the case with much of the movie. Even the set designs and futuristic ideas feel half-thought out. Back to the Future II had a better future thought up back in 1989. In this movie, cars drive themselves and doctors use such highly advanced tools as an oil funnel.
About the same amount of thought is given to the characters. Much like Horrible Bosses 2, the characters are caricatures of themselves from the preceding movie. If Lou was a bit of a jerk in the first movie, he’s a full-on irrational buffoon this time around. The stabs at character development come because the script needs them to, not because it’s in the nature of the characters themselves. About three times Lou gives a speech with enough sap to feed the world syrup, and each time it feels faker than the last. Mostly because the next scene has Lou going right back to his asshole antics.
The movie’s only bright spot, and you need the Hubble Telescope to catch a glimpse of it, comes in the form of Adam Scott. He plays a character as idiotic as the rest of the script’s cast, but gives it that endearing bit of Adam Scott-ness that we’ve come to depend on him for. It’s not enough to save the movie, but it’s enough to keep at least a little of the moviegoer’s sanity until the credits roll. With that said, if you need me I’ll be traveling from hot tub to hot tub, drinking copious amounts of alcohol in each one and trying to find the one that will take me to a dimension where this movie was never made. I give Hot Tub Time Machine 2 0.5 out of 5.
Score: 0.5 out of 5