The first time around “Hot Tub Time Machine” stars John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke, grappled with the mysteries of the Red Bull-fuelled space and time continuum as they tripped back in time to the Regan years.
Since we’ve seen them last they (minus Cusack, who is replaced by Adam Scott) have exploited “their knowledge of the future for personal gain.” What they did in the past changed their futures and Nick (Robinson) is now a popular songwriter—he “wrote” “MMMBop” and “Feelin’ Like Teen Spirit”—while Lou became the “father of the internet,” and the creator of the search engine Lougle. Adam’s (Cusack) absence is explained away with a passing reference to an “experiential journey.”
They are rich beyond belief—“That hot tub really turned it all around.”—but soon discover the future isn’t exactly the way their remembered it—wrap your head around that—when Lou takes a bullet from an unknown assassin and Nick and Jacob fire up the hot tub to try and stop the shooting before it happens. They inadvertently end up in the future in a world they don’t quite understand. “Who is to say the past isn’t this present.”
“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” feels like it was written by a group of frat boys in the throws of a raging kegger at the Delta Tau Chi House after a “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” marathon. All the animal house trademarks are here—vomit gags, jokes about sex with animals, a drug trip, testicle terror and homophobic razzing. The only thing missing is Seth Rogen and boy, did he miss a bullet.
Working from a script that feels improvised, the usually funny guys Corddry, Robinson, Duke and Scott are at sea in a movie that abandons the story—the search for the shooter is side tracked for twenty or more minutes while the guys flit through time—in favour of raunchy jokes and random situations. As the cast tries in vain to find the funny you hope that the next trip in the Hot Tub Time Machine will be their last.
“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is a waste of time—past and present.