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Hot Tub Time Machine 2

February 20, 2015
Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Hot Tub Time Machine 2, like its predecessor, is a stupid, silly comedy. But at least it knows how stupid and silly it is, and to be honest that goes a long way. Still, it’s not clear that there’s enough left in this tub to justify another dip.

The first movie had John Cusack as Adam, alongside his buddies Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson), and nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). With Cusack along, the movie was basically another homage to ’80s teen comedies, and it worked well enough at that.

But now it’s just Lou, Nick, and Jacob, now known to be Lou’s son. Nick and Lou both used their knowledge of the future for their own profit. Nick has recorded his own versions of popular songs — we see him shooting a remake of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” video — while Lou gave up that rock-star route to invent “Lougle”.

Of course, none of them are happy. If they were, we wouldn’t have a story. But someone is even less happy, and takes a shot at Lou. Luckily, he moved the magic hot tub into his mansion, along with a supply of nitrotrinadium, so they escape to the past. Or the future. It’s kind of complicated and pretty clear that the writers didn’t think too much about the details so I suggest you don’t either.

Anyway, they have to figure out who was trying to kill Lou, and since they found Adam’s jacket beside the tub they try to look for him. Instead they find Adam’s milquetoast son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott) and drag him along for the ride.

With Cusack out of the picture, this basically becomes the Rob Corddry show, and I tend to fond that Corddry is best in small doses as a supporting player. The general outlines of a “be excellent to each other” moral are pretty clear, and progress towards that goal isn’t terribly interesting. There’s plenty of funny, archly self-aware bits that kept me laughing throughout, but every so often you know you’re going to get dragged back into Corddry’s annoying bromophobia. One particularly bad misfire ends up with just Robinson and Scott playing out a gag involving a degenerate future game show, and you can tell their hearts just aren’t in it.

Still, Robinson, Duke, and Scott get their chance to shine as more than the supporting crew of The Office and Parks and Recreation, and Corddry’s not all bad either. February releases have to grade on a curve, and given the competition, I’ll take this one.

Worth It: It’s shaky, but there’s not much better in the way of comedy right now.
Bechdel Test: fail.

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