Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Drowned in Its Own Self-Awareness
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Directed by: Steve Pink
Written by: Josh Heald
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase
Running time: 93 minutes
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is honestly not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be, it is also not nearly as good as it could have been. The saving grace for this film is the fact that it is self-aware, and as such, never even attempts to take itself seriously. The result is that we were stuck with a comedy that has a lot of downtime between genuinely funny gags. That downtime is filled with repeated tropes, and terrible jokes, and then they repeat. It was honestly like a sketch comedy routine that never ends. I love comedy, but I don’t love sifting through so much junk just to find a good joke. In the interest of full disclosure, I never saw Hot Tub Time Machine (1), so I may have enjoyed this film more than is reasonable, as the majority of the material was new to me. I have found that many of the jokes were reused concepts from the first film; this is how I am justifying rating it as highly as I did that or out of simple pity. Point being, half of this film is crap, half of it is decent, and half (generously) of the decent half is actually funny. I was generous in my rating is what I am trying to say, because comedy is hard and subjective. I know people that will love this film, and people that will despise this film. Now that I have justified myself, you can stop judging me.
Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry) has become the father of the internet, and with his knowledge of the future was able to amass a multi-billion dollar empire, his life, and by extension Jacob’s (Clark Duke) lives are pretty neat. Nick Webber (Craig Robinson) is now a Grammy award winning musician and producer. At a party, a mysterious assailant shoots Lou, with a shotgun, in the dick. To save Lou’s life, Nick and Jacob use the power of the time traveling hot tub to go back in time to stop the unknown assassin. Unfortunately, for a completely unexplainable reason, they travel forward 10 years to 2025. After profound confusion, and a brief conversation with the mysterious hot tub repairman (Chevy Chase) Jacob comes to the conclusion that Lou’s assassin came from the future, where they are now. Armed with this information, they set off to find their friend Andrew, but instead find his son Andrew Yates Jr. (Adam Scott) who enthusiastically offers to guided them through the future to solve Lou’s future murder in the past. Extreme wackiness ensues.
The hero of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is Adam Scott, followed by Clark Duke. Scott, for the most part, spends the majority of the film playing the strait man from the future. His sincere naive delivery of absolutely absurd jokes is the second best thing about this movie. The first best thing is the end sequence, which isn’t really part of the movie at all. This brings me back around to the primary problem with this film, the best part, is not even part of the film, and the good parts only amount to a (generous) quarter of the screen time. It is not a film I can recommend as a whole, but I can recommend specific scenes, or 5-minute clips. It will be brilliant on YouTube, where the ham-fisted delivery of Rob Corddry can be toned down to manageable ham-sandwich size bites. Not to say he isn’t funny, he is, but here, in this film he is overbearing as he chews through scenery as though it were ham. What I am trying to say is that he resembles ham, in this film. The polar opposite of Corddry was Craig Robinson, who was subdued and seemed to call in his performance. Robinson has a terrific comedic delivery that was underutilized here. The only possible reason I could forgive that is if he did this intentionally to allow Clark Dude to upstage him, slightly, from time to time. Robinson was really upstaged by everyone, but it is ok, because I won’t hold this film against him, or any of the cast the next time they show up.
Honestly, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 could have been much worse. Most of the humor fell flat, suffering from poor setup, execution, or timing. In other words, some of it was just lazy comedy that needed a few more revisions, and a heavy-handed edit. If you liked the first film, I can only assume you might enjoy this one, but I would say it could wait for a home viewing, if it shows up on Netflix in 6 months.