John Cusick—who played Adam Yate in the first Hot Tub Time Machine film—must have actually found a hot tub time machine, gone into the future to see how the sequel would do, and decided it would be best if he were not involved. Basing itself solely off the success of the original film, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 turned what came across as a creative and retro take on time travel into a crapshoot of penis jokes and lazy scriptwriting that could hardly impress anyone (including die hard fans of the first film). Whereas Hot Tub Time Machine’s ’80s references and general atmosphere actually gives it amusing material to work off, Hot Tub Time Machine 2’s jump to the future gives it no such comedic value or premise.
The boys, having garnered success from their exploits in the first film, are now unsatisfied with their lives and mope about in spite of their financial positions. Lou, staying back in the ’80s when the group originally went back in time, has made his success in the present based off his knowledge of the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. Nick’s musical revival in his trip back through time has reignited his career and he now makes music for a living. Jacob now knows Lou is his father and can live comfortably off of his riches. Adam, Cusick’s character, is written off as being on a book tour.
Now that time has caught up to where Lou lived before making the jump back in time, his schemes are now forfeited and his company is running itself into the ground. He constantly falls into doing a lot of drugs, generally upsetting his family, and throws rampant parties. At one of these parties, after making a speech about how everyone should live selfishly, doing everything only for themselves, Lou is shot in the crotch and the boys must get him to the conveniently placed hot tub time machine to go back and find out who Lou’s assassin is.
The group finds itself in the future, where the assassin, for some undisclosed reason, must have come from. Lou is somehow okay, after being shot in the groin, and the rest of the film is spent trying to track down the man or woman that shot him. The group comes across Adam Yates Jr., played by Adam Scott, who joins them on the quest to find the attempted murderer. The gang spends the rest of the film parading about a strange 2025 alternate future that has little ground in reality or interesting features to it.
One of the more frustrating aspects of the film is the way it handles the future. Hot Tub Time Machine 2’s “alternate timeline” concept makes no sense in the context that it is given. Lou’s incident is entirely done away with, but his problems in 2025 unfold just as if nothing had ever happened to him in 2015. The whole “murder mystery” is actually ruined by the film’s poster that blatantly gives away the only interesting aspect of the whole film. Even if it weren’t ruined, there is no intriguing development in the film that invests an audience in the group’s outrageous escapades. Whatever the writers were trying to do with framing the future in their story, it failed miserably.
These characters inspire zero sympathy. Lou especially does nothing to make a viewer wish that he were not shot in the beginning of the film. He is sex crazed, lazy, and maniacal, not even in a funny way. At some point in the film, a smart car, which runs on feelings, is angered by him and attempts to kill him. It would have made a better use of everyone’s time if the car succeeded and that the movie just ended there. Nick, Jacob, and Adam Jr. are not nearly as despicable, but they do little to hold a viewer’s interest and are just as unrightfully depressed as Lou is.
There is no reason why this film should exist. The first film does an impressive job of manipulating the time travel concept into a mildly entertaining throwback to ’80s culture and it knows its place as half-assed comedy that could actually get a few laughs out of an audience. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a sad excuse for comedy and the only reason it was made was that the first film did considerably well, given the concept and quirky cast. Cusick was right to avoid the film and hopefully the lousy sequel does poorly enough for the producers to stop the series in its tracks.
Featured Image Courtesy of Paramount Pictures