Someone puked in the hot tub.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the painfully unfunny sequel to its very funny predecessor, is a movie about three dicks making dick jokes in the future. If you’ve never seen boobs before, love cutting class with your pre-teen skater homies, and draw genitalia on your friends’ faces when they pass out on the couch, you’re going to get a kick out of this movie, bro. But for the rest of us, this laugh-less, schlocky parade of ill-conceived gags has the entertainment value of, well, hanging out with a bunch of pre-teen skater homies for an hour and a half. Juvenile humor can be funny when it’s done right, but most of the time, it just pisses me off. I’ve got better things to do.
The first movie saw four friends travel back through a time portal to a pivotal weekend in 1986, while the sequel sends them hurtling forward in time to 2025. John Cusack starred in that film as the straight man, but he wisely declined a return for director Steve Pink’s second spin in the sci-fi jacuzzi. Rob Corddry is the lead this go-round, reprising his role as scumbag drug addict Lou, now the billionaire head of search engine empire “Lougle” and lead singer of hair metal outfit “Motley Lou”. Also exploiting his post-1986 insider info is Nick (Craig Robinson), who’s made a career as a pop star by releasing crummy versions of songs that haven’t been released yet, like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”. Jacob (Clark Duke), Lou’s son, hasn’t done much of anything since the events of the first movie, resigning himself to just hanging out in his dad’s mansion.
The plot starts in earnest when Lou’s genitals get blown away by a shotgun-wielding mystery man at his own party. Nick and Duke drag Lou’s emasculated ass to the hot tub to go back in time and stop his murderer. Instead, they jump 10 years ahead and find themselves in a world where man-skirts are all the rage, Jessica Williams is the host of the Daily Show, reality TV has life-or-death stakes, and smart cars hold grudges. To call any of Pink and screenwriter Josh Heald’s future gags “satirical” would be insanely generous, and they know that. But seriously, none of their jokes about technology are even worth a chuckle, so what’s the point of the future setting anyway? It’s a missed opportunity.
The first thing the three amigos do upon arriving in the future is seek out their old pal Adam, though what they find instead is his clean-cut son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott), who happens to be getting married the next day, but decides to accompany his dad’s buddies on their mission anyway, because why the f*ck not? When Lou, the douchebag that he is, tricks Adam Jr. into taking an extreme mind-altering drug at a night club, so starts the craziest 24 hours of the soon-to-be husband’s life, in which he does unspeakable things like have butt sex with Nick. Yes, that’s what this movie is.
Like the far superior Anchorman franchise, Hot Tub 2 rattles off jokes rapid-fire, the silly, moronic back-and-forth between its characters bludgeoning us remorselessly. The problem is, while Anchorman hits you with hilarious line after hilarious line, Hot Tub 2 hits you with dud after dud after dud, and one can only take so much before the failed attempts become utterly exhausting. What’s worse, the film takes a strange turn toward morality in its final act, promoting faithfulness and sobriety and self-accountability. You know: adult stuff.
Why? WHY? It’s as if right before they started production they were like, “Oh crap! This movie needs to say something meaningful! We have a responsibility to the people!” If these guys made the movie as an excuse to hang with their buddies, make some dough, and slap together some dumb jokes they’ve had rattling around in their heads, they should just fess up and embrace it, not try to dupe us into thinking there’s more to this movie than there is.
The talent on hand is a talented bunch, but their skills go to waste. This may be Corddry and Robinson’s worst work yet, but Duke’s acting is actually pretty solid most of the time, making Jacob the most memorable character by far. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 left me completely drained. Films of its ilk that lean heavily on pop culture references and rape humor will hopefully die out in the next few years, and at best, this comedy stinker will help expedite that process.