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Friday, March 20, 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 2015 * * 1/2 Stars

Hot Tub Time Machine 2Director: Steve Pink
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is not as good a film as Hot Time Time Machine. There I said it. Sequels are for the most part, inferior to the original so I'm basically telling you the audience member, something you probably already know. "2" isn't as laughable this time around, funnymen Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson aren't as appealing, the script is a tad lazier with a little too much improvisation, and Chevy Chase has like two lines (his screen time is equal to his minuscule cameo in 2002's Orange County). Notice that I didn't mention the absence of one John Cusack. Personally, I thought he was miscast in the first film anyway and the only reason he possibly signed on was because it had an 80's novelty to it (the Evanston, Illinois native was iconic as an actor in that bullish decade). I'm sure he had his reasons for not appearing in this delayed second helping (originally slated for late December 2014 I believe). No matter. The first one would've worked without him and the 2nd one, well it's not so bad. Here's hoping Johnny boy didn't instead decide to reprise his role as Sam in the sequel to The Prince. Just kidding.

Anyway, the inaugural "Hot Tub" involved four down on their luck dudes getting hammered, sliding into a ski lodge jacuzzi, and going back in time via 1986. Its director Steve Pink, fashioned an outrageously raunchy version of Back to the Future. With "2", Pink gets back behind the camera and creates a sort of sloppily-made whodunit. The plot which kind of feels uninspired, puts the characters in present day (2015 of course) and has them going ten years into the future to catch the person who killed Lou Dorchen (comic juggernaut Rob Corddry). As Craig Robinson puts it (he plays mediocre recording artist, Nick Webber), "this is just like Terminator". Bingo.

Past cinematic references aside (and there are many of them in "2"), time travel vehicles are so confusing. But that's not why people go to the Hot Tub Time Machine releases. It's about the funny, the vulgarity of it all. Number 2 has plenty of that. It's more of the gross out kind than the humorous kind however. There's a scene where a main character gets shot in the junk and another scene where someone gets a needle put into their testicles with white-colored love juice spewing out at everybody (ugh). Finally, there is an implied sex sequence involving Corddry's Lou and Robinson's Nick (it's on a game show entitled, Choozy Doozy). Electric shock treatment and nods to The Lawnmower Man are hastily involved (if this is what the future holds, I might have to turn my TV set off for good).

All in all, if you liked Hot Tub Time Machine, there's no reason why you wouldn't embrace its 2nd go around that was five years in the making. "2" is more elaborate, more sumptuous, and less contempt. It's not in the category of sequels that should have never been made (this is what a lot of critics have been saying). It's just that the bubbles aren't as effervescent this time around despite a few ample guffaws. Result: A guilt-ridden two and a half stars.

Of note: The two Hot Tub Time Machine movies are known for their cameos and in "2", they're in the form of an unbilled Christian Slater (he plays a sadistic game show host) and singer Lisa Loeb. They aren't as effective or out of the box as Karate Kid's William Zabka back in 2010. But they are amusing nonetheless. Also of note: Stay for the end credits. What a hoot. They're not outtakes. In fact, they're quick cuts involving the gang of misfits (Robinson, Corddry, Scott, and Duke) constantly going back in time (examples are the late 1800's, the 1960's, and of course the 1980's) and discussing it while wearing different fad-like outfits. Something tells me that this isn't a prelude to a third "Hot Tub" installment. I could be wrong though.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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