Friday, 18 September 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

When I reviewed Horrible Bosses 2, I discussed how comedy sequels can go either way. They can be okay – surprisingly, like Horrible Bosses 2 itself – or they can be dreadful, like the Hangover sequels and too many others to list. And the thing with comedies is that most of the time, they don’t need a sequel in the first place. It’s just an example of Hollywood being greedy and attempting to cash in on any potential franchise opportunities. Hot Tub Time Machine is another example of a film that simply did not need a sequel. The first film was nothing special at all, but was arguably decent enough for what it was, managing to evoke a few laughs and some heart out of a downright silly premise. So where does the sequel stand?


Directed by Steve Pink and out now on DVD & Blu-ray is the aptly named Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (although the writers originally wanted it to be called Hot Tub Time Machine 3 to reflect the time travel themes, which was rejected to avoid confusion). When Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) fire up the hot tub time machine again in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr (Adam Scott), son of John Cusack’s character from the first film. Now they must alter the future in order to save the past - which is really the present. You know, just your usual time travel comedy hijinks. Well, I’m told this is a comedy. I didn’t realise when watching it, and had to remind myself frequently when trying to remain focused on the all-over-the-place narrative. 


The main reason for any sequel’s existence is to improve upon the previous film, and extend upon what made it good and warrant a sequel in the first place. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 takes a major step down. Why? The major problem with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the hugely noticeable lack of what made the first film stand out – a certain John Cusack. The film suffers a CUSACK LACK. Cusack only features in the Extended Cut of this sequel, and even then he only appears for seconds. There’s no clear reason why he doesn’t appear more – either it just wasn’t in the budget (possible, as the first film’s $36 million budget is more than twice the size of the sequel’s) or Cusack just decided he had some self-respect and would do something else instead, which is equally possible as he recently starred in the phenomenal Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. Cusack stated on his Twitter that he wasn’t even asked to appear, which I find hard to believe. Whatever the reason, it’s a big problem for Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – especially as references are made so frequently to his character in an attempt to make his presence felt.

Returning cast members Corddry, Robinson and Duke try their best with the material they’re given along with new cast member Scott, but the uncomfortably juvenile jokes fall flat. Like most American comedies of the last few years, the film relies heavily on sex jokes and bad language alone to get laughs. Great if you’re 12 years old and having a sleepover with your mates, high on Coca Cola and crisps. But if you’re an adult with even the tiniest bit of class and sophistication, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 will make you feel sick.


So, just incase I haven’t made it clear – I hated Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Hated it. Like Anchorman 2, it is an embarrassingly desperate attempt to follow something original and successful by making a more ridiculous and childish version of the first film. There isn’t one single thing to recommend here, even to a fan of the first Hot Tub Time Machine. If you’re looking for a good Jacuzzi time travel themed comedy sequel, you’re in the wrong place. Because there’s nothing good about this unnecessary piece of shit. And after the critical panning and financial disappointment of this, it’s highly unlikely we’ll have to endure a third. Maybe there is a God.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 should go back in time to before it was made, and tell the writers to please write something else. 1/5.

★☆☆☆☆

Sam Love


Hot Tub Time Machine 2 at CeX


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