After 2014 I was already pretty sick of unnecessary sequels so I wasn't exactly excited to head to the movies this weekend. It seems like I wasn't alone, as there were only six other people in the theater for a 7 p.m. showing. Despite all the negative signs I still wanted to like Hot Tub Time Machine 2 even though I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. Strangely enough my feelings ended up somewhere in between.
The quick review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a perfectly passable gross-out comedy that I didn't mind watching once but have no interest in ever seeing again.
Picking up roughly where the original film left off, we're in the 'present' where Lou (Rob Courddry) is a power-mad jerk who was a successful rock star and now owns Lougle, having utilized all of Google's ideas before they ever happened. Nick (Craig Robinson) is still a famous musician, having stolen all the best songs from the last two decades and making them his own, though he's now running out of steam. (One of the better parts of the film is him on a sound stage, recording the music video for Lisa Loeb's 'Stay' but he can barely remember any of the original lyrics.) Finally, Jacob (Clark Duke) is still a listless loser but a rich one thanks to his biological father's rampant idea theft.
Things kick off when Lou is attacked at his own party, forcing the group to use the hot tub in an effort to travel back and stop the mysterious madman. This being a time travel sequel, the guys end up ten years in the future instead of the past.
In the future Nick is a has-been, Jacob runs Lougle and Lou is basically a crazed hobo. Since there's no Adam (John Cusack) to play the straight man to this group of sociopaths and selfish jerks, the film introduces us to his son Adam Jr. (Adam Scott), an annoying straight-man who has no real friends.
Adam is so clueless to these character's issues that he invites himself along to help, despite the fact that he is supposed to marry the woman of his dreams, played by Gillian Jacobs, in just 24 hours.
It's a simple plot but one that offers no end of jokes made in poor taste. Lou is relentlessly selfish, constantly putting temporary pleasure over the need to find whoever is trying to kill him. Jacob is a sad-sack depressive who would rather get drunk and whine even with the knowledge that he may one day be one of the richest, most powerful men in the world. Even Nick is kind of douchey this time around, but at least his heart is in the right place (most of the time).
Since the characters from the original film are so incorrigibly self-centered, they're constantly trying to drag Adam Jr. down to their level rather than letting his kindness and optimism lift them up.
There are a few good ideas here, like sentient cars that hold grudges and the future of television being even worse than anyone could possibly imagine, but most of the humor is lowest-common-denominator. Lots of dick and ball gags, insults, and gay jokes abound.
It's not a terrible movie but it's a sad sequel with none of the strange charm of the original. I would only recommend it for people who really, really liked the first Hot Tub Time Machine or just absolutely love gross-out humor.