Twitter Plot Summary: Everyone except John Cusack returns for another spin in the Hot Tub Time Machine… in the future!
Behold! Hot Tub Time Machine 2! The sequel that absolutely nobody asked for! Also behold! The complete absence of John Cusack who obviously thought better of appearing in this horrific car crash of an accident! (Unless you watch the unrated edition). That is what some people might think, and they would be pretty much on the mark. A glut of sexist humour, lazily structured jokes and a plot that doesn’t make much sense all contribute to a movie that leaves you questioning the reason for its existence – until you realise it’s all about the studio making money. Then everything slots into place.
Despite ending on a hugely positive and entirely appropriate note, three of the characters from Hot Tub Time Machine (note: none of them are John Cusack) unite for one more journey through time when their mostly successful lives start falling apart. And in the case of Rob Corddry’s Lou, finding himself lacking a certain part of his anatomy after a gunshot blast to the unmentionables. They decide to use their time machine to find the person responsible for this outrage. Except this time (hah, time travel etc) they don’t go to their pasts but rather to their future.
Cue an obligatory run of gags about how much/little the future has changed, how much they have aged, and… well, that’s about it. There’s some fun improv moments, but you eventually realise they’re being overused in the absence of well structured jokes. Then you realise that this is likely another film where the cast and crew had a ball making it – as we all know, this is not necessarily something that works out for the audience.
The three remaining leads from the first film – Corrdry, Robinson and Duke, all play characters that lack the moral compass of Cusack’s Adam, and you find yourself wondering who you should be rooting for. Yes they have a quest to stop Lou being shot, but he’s such an unlikeable slug of a man it’s ultimately irrelevant if he finds his attacker or not. In fact, just thinking this makes
Apart from Cusack’s notable absence, it is a sequel that does slot into the narrative style of the original. Chevy Chase pops up again as the hot tub mechanic, and Adam Scott rocks up as Adam, the obligatory fourth member of the posse from the future – you know, just to keep things balanced.
I found the jokes about Adam’s naivety mostly solid, elsewhere less so. One particular call back to the first film is effective, namely referencing the name of the film directly with a knowing glance at the camera, but here it doesn’t work quite as well. It’s apparent that a fair amount of time was spent trying to fit “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” into a vaguely workable sentence.
Where it suffers is in its objectification of women. Nudity for the sake of nudity is best avoided, and the only reason it’s used here is for basic titillation purposes only. If you’re reduced to that level, something is clearly missing – and this cannot be pinned solely on the absence of John Cusack.