When present-day John Cusack says no to being in your movie, you know you’re in deep trouble.
Many years in the future, after they found certain ways to toy around with details that would make them billionaires, buddies Nick (Craig Robinson), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Jacob (Clark Duke) are all living the high life. Nick is a successful musician who can’t remember the original lyrics to most of the songs he’s performing; Lou is a billionaire, always drinking, always sexing, always doing some sort of drug, and always being a dick to whomever is around him; and Jacob, other than being that guy whomever Lou is a dick to, still moves awkwardly around in life. After Lou gets fatally shot in the penis area, the three all decide to take that one, final ride in their lovely little secret, the Hot Tub Time Machine. However, once they get where they’re, the three all realize that they’re in the near-future, where things a little bit more different than they are in the present time. But what’s really surprising to the gang is to see Adam Yates’ (John Cusack) son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott), all grown up and ready to tie the knot. However, could he possibly be the one who shoots Lou in the past, or no?
Given its juvenile sense of humor, Hot Tub Time Machine was actually a pretty solid comedy. Not perfect, but not terrible, either; I guess given the fact that the title was so idiotic to begin with, that anything resembling something of actual quality was fine enough to be granted a pass. And even the idea of going back to the same premise and jotting around with certain little things here and there, still seems like a not-so-bad idea, so long as the creators behind the idea keep it all together and not lose themselves in a never ending stream of dick, gay, and sex jokes.
And sadly, that’s exactly what Hot Tub Time Machine 2 turns out to be – quite like mostly every other comedy sequel.
Where most of the problems with this movie come from, as they often do with most comedies, is that the jokes just aren’t funny. However, director Steve Pink or writer Josh Heald ever seemed to take the hint that their material just wasn’t hitting quite as hard as they may have intended for it, too. Rather than giving us funny, almost smart raunchy jokes about dude’s performing oral sex on one another, or someone drinking way too much and getting pretty messed-up, Pink and Heald go one step further and just continue on with showing these sorts of things, thinking that them happening is funny enough as is.
However, they’re wrong. But what makes it a tad bit worse is the fact that most of the jokes rely around that same kind “not-homophobic, but homophobic” brand of humor that works so well in Judd Apatow flicks. In the later’s films, most of the male characters act like they’re in love with one another in an all-too intimate way, all despite them clearly being straight. However, in order for these characters to make it feel as if they didn’t actually mean any heartfelt feelings with their gesture of tender love and care, they normally break out a typical, “Nah, bro. No homo.”
While these characters in Apatow movies are fine to do this, all because they actually do it all for a reason and helps improve the rapport between the actors who are supposed to be playing best friends of one another, here, it’s just wrong and slightly offensive. There’s a game show sequence in which anal sex is performed with two dudes and it’s just terrible to watch; not because I’m homophobic (which I’m definitely not), but because the movie just continues to go on and on with the joke as if it was all that hilarious to begin with.
The only time that whole overlong sequence is ever a tiny bit of funny, is whenever Christian Slater himself would show up.
That’s right, people, you heard it first: Christian Slater actually made a movie better just by showing up.
And some of you may be pissed off at the fact that I’m spoiling a small bit of this movie for all of you sitting at home, wondering whether or not you should even bother with renting this in the first place, but that’s done so on purpose. Not only am I trying to save you, the dedicated and ever so loving reader, but also the people involved with this, because I know for an absolute fact that Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, and especially, Adam Scott, are a whole lot funnier than what it is that they’re forced to go through the motions with here. But somehow, Christian Slater made me laugh more than them?
What gives? Better yet, where the hell is John Cusack at?
See, what’s perhaps the most interesting anecdote about Hot Tub Time Machine 2 isn’t the fact that it wastes a potentially smart premise on a plethora on dumb, useless sex and gay jokes, is that John Cusack didn’t even bother showing up this time around. Maybe it made sense to him that since the movie wouldn’t be taking place in the 1980’s anymore (aka, his playhouse) and would instead be heading to the near-future where his stunt-casting may not be needed, or maybe John Cusack despised the script so much that he didn’t even want to bother trying to give this thing a go. Cause you know, I’m pretty sure that Dragon Blade needed all of the time and attention in the world.
But regardless about Cusack not showing up here, it probably wouldn’t have helped much. The jokes don’t quite land as well as they did in the first (if they do land at all), and honestly, it just seems like everybody involved was looking for a quick cash grab, all due to the fact that the first one was a mild hit. “Mild”, being the keyword.
Please don’t give ’em another.
Consensus: Without hardly any jokes that are actually funny, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 feels like a lifeless bore, only made so that important people could get rich and the occasional chuckle could occur.
2 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire