February 19, 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Grade: D
Director: Steve Pink
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott and Gillian Jacobs
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.

John Cusack doesn’t return for Hot Tub Time Machine 2, and his Adam Yates character is not nearly all that’s missing from this misbegotten sequel. Gone is the goofs-out-of-water historical conceit of the 1980s-set original, replaced by a profane, pointless and humorless script that goes forward in time but backward in everything else.

You’ll wish the film had ended inside the opening half-hour with lout Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry, the flop sweat flowing), now mogul of a Google-style Internet startup, getting shotgunned in the groin. Sadly, Lou, son Jacob (Clark Duke) and now-popular pop sensation Nick Webber (Craig Robinson) take another plunge into the titular aquatic portal to save Lou’s life and cure the malaise of their seemingly successful lives.

In 2025, this grating trio encounter Adam Jr. (Adam Scott) and, while (kinda) trying to solve the mystery of “Who Shot Lou?” pick a fight with a homicidal smart car, have forced virtual gay sex on a Christian Slater-hosted game show, and get inebriated … a lot.

Director Steve Pink ignores the vast past settings he could have comedically mined until a hurried, purposeless epilogue that positions the Hot Tub Time Machine series to possibly mirror the chronological route of the Back to the Future trilogy. However, one of those film series was directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg, and one is not.

A few farcical non sequiturs elicit mild chuckles, but the storyline largely lurches from one lazy, bodily fluid-filled set piece after another. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 needs a lot of things, but mainly another concept, a different screenplay, better acting and plenty of bromine.

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