Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens with a nipple joke. If that’s the sort of thing that you’re in to, then this is the film for you! For everyone else, you’re in for a pretty tiresome time.
In the first, actually reasonably funny, instalment of the Hot Tub Time Machine saga, a raucous group of friends embarked on a ski resort holiday, where they inadvertently transported themselves back in time, altering the course of history as we know it. The sequel picks up in the alternate universe the gang have created, with Craig Robinson’s Nick now a plagiarising musician, ripping off the songs of artists yet to be, Rob Corddry’s Lou now a multi-talented billionaire, whilst his son Jacob (Clark Duke) is…just sort of there. John Cusack meanwhile clearly read Josh Heald’s script before signing on though, because he didn’t bother to turn up this time around.
When Lou gets (deservedly) shot in the penis at a party, the trio hop back into the time travelling hot tub which just so happens to be at Lou’s mansion and set off on a hunt to find Lou’s would-be murderer. As is the case with any sequel to a time travel movie, instead of being sent back in time, they end up ten years into the future, in a world where Neil Patrick Harris is President. It’s in this future world that they encounter Adam (Adam Scott), the son of John Cusack’s absent character. Which begs the question, why is Adam Scott in Hot Tub Time Machine 2? I’m pretty certain that anyone who has seen Scott in Parks and Recreation would agree that he’s a markedly charming screen presence, and that proves to be the case here as well, but the nonsensical material he has to sift through really doesn’t do him any favours.
He’s not the only one who should have known better though, with Christian Slater, of all people, popping up for a cameo as a gameshow host for an entirely pointless and humourless sequence at the midpoint of the film – It really is just the worst. The film’s not entirely unfunny though, with a smattering of laughs in the earlier sections (with Craig Robinson bagging the majority of these), but said laughs are simply too few and far between. To make matters worse, the joke well runs bone dry halfway through the film, making for a predictable and unoriginal final 45 minutes of cinema.
Maybe I’m cynical, but it really just isn’t as fun, nor as funny as Hot Tub Time Machine was before it. One or two moments threaten to rekindle the spirit of its predecessor, but without John Cusack’s Adam, who grounded the first film and provided more or less the entirety of the heart, it becomes little more than a series of slapstick routines. Cusack did well to avoid it in the end. You would do too.
Rating (out of 5):