With Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Jason Jones. Written by Josh Heald. Directed by Steve Pink. Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence. 93 minutes.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” (2010) was a brainless, lowest common denominator comedy about a group of middle-aged friends going back to their young adulthood and trying to fix their lives. For some reason it achieved a cult following and so now we get HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2, a sequel along the same lines with John Cusack missing in action. Viewers may wish to join him.
Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) have used their time traveling ability to steal ideas and then get there first. Lou became a rock star and then formed an internet company called “Lougle” (get it?). Nick also became a music star with similar success. Only Jacob (Clark Duke)–nephew of the missing Adam (Cusack’s character)–is less successful, essentially serving as Lou’s butler. Actually, none of them are happy and we get the idea that Lou and Nick are in broken marriages. Then, at a big party, Lou is shot.
The premise of the movie is that Nick and Jacob take Lou back to the past to discover who shot him and prevent the action from taking place. Only they end up in 2025, ten years in the future. Somehow this will help them fix the past. There they meet Adam’s son Adam Jr. (Adam Scott) who is about to get married. This involves lots of “jokes” involves sex, drugs, and vomiting. Oh, also gay sex, which the filmmakers seem to think is both hilarious and humiliating, something we might have expected forty years ago. Now, not so much.
The weight of the film is on Corddry and while he can be funny, he is not a leading man, particularly when asked to play a loud, boorish, and obnoxious character like Lou. The first film may have been an ensemble, but if it worked at all, it was Cusack’s hangdog everyman who provided an anchor for it. Here Corddry–who is essentially a sidekick–is surrounded by other sidekicks and supporting players, including Jason Jones who, like Corddry, is a veteran of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” (Indeed, the best joke in the film is connected to a 2025 episode of the program and who the host turns out to be.)
Just how bad is this? It is a movie that thinks the word “ejaculate” is so funny it is used repeatedly in one scene. It is a movie that thinks so little of its female characters that the most likable one gets to have a scene where she parades around topless, presumably to give the fourteen year old boys who snuck into the theater a thrill. It is a movie that thinks it’s the height of comedy to have a woman see her future husband experience gay sex against his will on a television show.
“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is an embarrassment to all concerned. The only one who looks good in this is Cusack, for choosing not to be a part of it.•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His most recent book is “Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood and the Bartender’s Guide.” He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.