Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Review
by Derek Heeren
Hello, fellow viewers!
Today, I watched Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Here are some thoughts—judge for yourself if you should go on an Excellent Adventure or if you should avoid a Bogus Journey to the theatres.
When we last saw our heroes: I’m sure you all remember where we left Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine 1. Oh, you don’t? Well, I didn’t either. But don’t worry. It doesn’t really matter. Some guys found a time machine made out of a hot tub, went back to the 80’s, and introduced music and technology from the 90’s and the aughts to get rich. There, you’re caught up. (there are some characters / jokes referenced from the first movie that you may not get. When that happens, just laugh when everyone else does and you should be fine)
Prerequisite viewing: 7 out of 10
Prerequisite viewing: 7 out of 10
What’s this all about?: Armed with a partial grasp of pop culture history and a hot tub time machine, Lou and Nick have created technical and musical empires of awesomeness. Or so it seems. In reality, this awesomeness is a façade covering a center of stolen songs and lack-of-knowledge-on-how-companies work. Oh, and Lou’s son Jacob was also there, doing…whatever.
The monstrously ego-centric Lou is having a grand ole time at one of the parties he’s thrown for himself until he gets shot in a very delicate location (i.e. his groin—not a room made of egg shells) by a mysterious, tuxedoed partygoer. Nick and Jacob drag Lou to the Hot Tub Time Machine to take him back to the past, but they end up going 10 years into the future! Dun Dun duuuuuuun. Not only that, it’s apparently an alternate future…for some reason…because Lou is whole again. Welp, movie over! Guess everything worked out. Time to head back—wait! They can’t because the main ingredient of time travel—nitrotinadium–hasn’t been invented yet! Dun, dun duuuuuun. Plot twist! Explained to you by the third Amigo, Chevy Chase!
After a brief, mandatory, Doc Brown-ian interlude on alternate timelines, the trio deduce that the 2025 future they’re in is actually the past to the 2015 they came from and that Lou’s mysterious, tuxedoed shooter must be here with them in the future (which is the present’s past). Got all that? Now, it’s a race against time to figure out who Lou’s shooter is before he or she goes back in time to the present and shoots Lou. If they fail (or decide to get high and go to strip clubs instead of sleuthing) Lou will disappear. Dun, dun, duuuuuun.
The first suspect the group tries to track down is their friend Adam (played by Jon Cusack in the first movie). They can’t find him (for some unexplained reason) but they do find his helpful and optimistic son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). They bring him along for the ride where Adam’s helpfulness and optimism is subjected to being trampled, drugged, beaten, and subjected to several other indignities that follow everyone that interacts with Lou.
Time travely mumbo jumbo: 8 out of 10
It was acting! Genius! Granted, I don’t know any of these people personally, but it seems like most of these guys are just playing themselves (or at least characters they’ve established as themselves). Craig Robinson is Craig-Robinsony with his singing, affable, quippy self; Rob Corddry is Rob Corddry-y with his scumbag with a heart of…whatever routine; even Lisa Loeb is Lisa Loeb-y (on a side note, she’s designing glasses frames now. Who knew? If I wore glasses, I think I’d wear Loeb’s atop my lobes). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (nor a surprise if you saw the first movie) but still, not an acting tour de force.
That being said, it’s still a fun cast and Adam Scott is a great addition (bonus points as well for Gillian Jacobs of Community ilk) so 6 out of 10
Scienceyness: hot tub + nitrotrinadium = time travel. That’s freshman temporal physics stuff. However, for pretzel-y twisted timelines, alternate realities and references to other time travel features, I’ll give this a 7 out of 10 on Scienceyness
The My Grandmas quotient: Seriously, don’t bring my grandmas to see this movie. It’s raunchy, lots of swearing, some nudity, some violence, lots of drugs, etc. My grandmas would not like this movie. If you are like my grandmas (or bringing someone who is), beware.
And now, some impressions: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.” That’s my best Groucho… did you like it? Anyway, now my impression of the movie: I didn’t love the first one, but it had its moments. However, the sequel surprised me; I found myself laughing quite a bit. It’s just a funny story about a totally nonsensical plot devise that, for a good portion, seems to be working. The cast works well together. The vision of the future isn’t all that revolutionary, but then, we’re only talking about 10 years in the future, so I guess that makes sense.
My only complaint was… (here’s where you should look away if you want to go into the movie without pre-conceptions)…in how the character of Lou was written. He is an irredeemably horrible person—why on Earth do Nick, Jacob and Adam Jr. care one bit what happens to this guy? No idea. And, unfortunately, it causes everything from the end of the second act onward to lose any investment in the quest to keep Lou alive.
(OK, you can look back now)
I heart that: Favorite part of the whole movie (other than the Lisa Loeb cameo) is the running “You look like a [obscure character or historical figure + crass activity].” They come in waves and I could not help but laugh.
Trailer verisimilitude: F minus. From the trailer, I thought this was going to be a movie about jumping to the 60s and to the Revolution and all over. And it does for a blip, but that’s not what the movie was about. We pretty much just stay in the future (which is the present’s past, remember)—I get it from a costume perspective, but let’s have some jumping around and some innovation.
Verdict: 7 out of 10