Hot Tub Time Machine 2 full movie review - "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"goes too far with the gleeful naughtiness that made the first film work.
Who with access to a time machine wouldn't want to make the world a better place by doing something like going back in time to kill Hitler or maybe taking a modern cure for some horrible disease back to the people in the past?
All worthy goals for time travel. But the guys in "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" (R, 1:33), are content to stay in the past and use their knowledge of the future to make themselves rich and famous. (By the way, if you don't know how or why a seemingly ordinary hot tub turns into a time machine, don't not worry about it. It's as loopy as it sounds and understanding how it works isn't necessary to enjoy these films.) "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" opens in the present. Most of the guys who rode a ski lodge's hot tub time machine back to their teenage years in the first film (except for John Cusack's character) have arrived in 2015 after reliving the past three decades, knowing what's going to happen during that time and they're all the better off for it. Nick (Craig Robinson) has pursued his dream of becoming a singer. He doesn't sing very well, but "writing" and performing popular songs from the 90s before they were released allows him to claim them as his own, making him a legendary musician in the present. Lou (Rob Corddry) used his knowledge of the 80s and 90s to become a fabulously wealthy and world famous tech genius. As the virtual king of the world, he runs his own company (called "Lougle", as in "Google", which, in this reality, doesn't exist) and he lives with a beautiful wife in a large mansion. He has dressed himself and his home as gaudily as he wants, and his arrogance, obnoxiousness and complete self-absorption are on full display both at work and at home. His son Jacob (Clark Duke) lives in the mansion as well? to serve his father as a butler.
Everything seems to be going great, until Lou throws a big party for his employees and is shot in the groin by an unseen gunman. We then find out that Lou bought the magical hot tub from that ski lodge in the first movie and had it installed in a secret room in his house and modified to make it easier to add the special chemical compound that made the hot tub into a time machine in the first place. Nick and Jacob pull Lou into the hot tub, get it going and then drink and do drugs, which is apparently part of what makes time travel possible. (Who needs a flux capacitor when you have booze and cocaine?) The guys try to go back to the past before Lou was shot so they can keep it from happening in the first place. The problem is that the hot tub time machine is not nearly as precise as the Delorean in "Back to the Future" and the mysterious hot tub repairman (played by Chevy Chase, briefly reprising his role from the original) is not as good at explaining what's going on, or figuring out how to fix things as Doc Brown. Instead of the past, the trio of soaked-to-the-skin time travelers end up ten years in the future! The fact that Lou is still alive leads the guys to figure out that events have created an alternate time line and that what was their future is now their past? or something like that. The point is that Nick, Jacob and Lou are convinced that Lou's killer traveled to 2015 from 2025 and if they can figure out who it is, they can keep the murderer from going back in time and shooting Lou. What follows is a series of false assumptions and clues that go nowhere. They meet Adam Yates, Jr. (Adam Scott), the son of John Cusack's character from the first movie, who helps them solve the mystery of Lou's murder. Really, rather than being a hero, Adam Jr. becomes more of a victim to the hard-partying influences of Lou, much to the chagrin of Adam's fiancé (Gillian Jacobs). You see, Lou being Lou, he's more interested in the strip clubs, drinks and drugs of the future than finding and stopping his own killer. Adam does help them unravel the mystery, but before all that, he's a necessary guide to the world of 2025, a world in which game shows feature highly sexual and/or violent situations, and driverless cars decide to kill you if you're not nice to them.
The easiest way to describe the level of entertainment that you'll get from "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" is as follows: Extremely obnoxious behavior? crude joke? really crude joke? funny joke? meandering script? silly dialog? funny joke? more meandering, more silliness and, ultimately, a resolution to the story. In other words, the judicious silliness of the first film is duplicated to a lesser degree in the sequel and is overshadowed by mostly unfunny, over-the-top-crude and offensive sight gags and comments that are supposed to pass as jokes. As a movie lover, I enjoyed the numerous references to films as diverse as "The Terminator", "Boogie Nights" and "Notting Hill", but I would rather the movie had a script that wasn't as infrequent with its laughs as the beep on a coma patient's heart monitor. Oh, and it would have been nice if the gags in the theatrical trailer played a bigger role in the plot instead of just being thrown in at the end during the closing credits. The excessive silliness of the first film worked, and made me like it in spite of myself. Except for a few very funny moments, this off-kilter sequel doesn't give the audience the same gleeful naughtiness as its predecessor, or much of anything that moviegoers probably expected when they bought their tickets. "C".