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When “Hot Tub Time Machine” came out almost five years ago, it took a whacky concept of four friends whisked back in time during a getaway to the 80s giving them a chance to fix aspects of their lives they wished they had done differently.

The outrageous and bawdy humor as well as strong performances from John Cusack and Crispin Glover made the film a cult hit that earned over $64 million worldwide and did well on DVD sales as well.

Naturally a sequel was planned and when I first heard it was looking to be a direct to DVD sequel sans Cusack, I had an idea that the film may be little more than an effort to cash in on the success of the first film without offering much to the continued story of the characters.

I was encouraged by the early trailers for the sequel and as such went into the screener with better expectations than I had originally had when I first heard of the projects.

The film explains that “John Cusack’s character is off on adventure of self-discovery as the friends have all become wealthy and famous after the events of the first film. Lou (Rob Corddry) has milked Motley Crue and his knowledge of pending tech to establish himself as a major player, Nick (Craig Robinson) has cashed in on a recording career by covering famous songs from his day before they were ever released and Jacob (Clark Duke) is stuck playing Butler to his father Lou.

Lou has become an example of an ego run wild and during one of his lavish parties; he is shot and left near death. In a move of desperation, Nick and Jacob whisk Lou into the Hot Tub and attempt to go back in time to stop the shooting.

Things do not go as planned as the trio end up 15 years into the future and must find a way to put things right and get home.

One would think that this premise would be able to produce some funny moments, but sadly the film is painfully slow and plodding and most shocking of all, very, very unfunny. The film tries to get some crude laughs from a gameshow of the future and a homicidal Smart Car but the film just wanders from situation to situation looking for laughs and does not setup or execute them properly.

There is a montage scene at the end of the film which sadly is the best part and shows what could have been a much better sequel with the group going through time taking the place of famous individuals and interacting with them.

As it stands, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”, is a trip you do not want to make.

1.5 stars out of 5

 

Second Review By Sasha Glenn

 

Sometimes titles tell us everything we need to know about a film when deciding whether or not to go see it. This is one of those times. The implication of hilarity topped with a generous sprinkle of cheesiness is all in the name of this movie. But that’s not all the title implies. It also implies something creative, and something less often explored in Hollywood – time travel.

The first “Hot Tub Time Machine” was a unique and hilarious idea. It followed the guys as they travelled back to the 80’s via a time machine that is, yes, a hot tub. They encountered everything that was outrageous about that time and place in their lives. Personally, I found it highly entertaining.

The sequel, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” follows a cohesive story line from the first film while at the same time it is not a repeat of the same humorous moments. The “Hangover” movies are an example of a series that disappointed viewers who enjoyed the first film, because they felt too much like repeats of the same basic scenario. This film does not commit that grave error.

This time, the guys are headed into the future. But it doesn’t just take the same group of actors and plop them into the future. The film is very creative in that it explores a future scenario that was determined based on the events of the first travels the guys took. Their effect on the timeline was imminent and is carried through.

Both Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick(Craig Robinson) used their trip to the past to leverage their success in the future. At the end of the first film the audience was left knowing that Lou had stolen many tech ideas, including Google by turning it into Lougle. Nick had started to steal song ideas that hadn’t come out yet. These themes remain intact and become a central part of the plot in the sequel.

The only one missing from the cast is John Cusack, who had played Adam. His mysterious lack of appearance is acknowledged throughout the film. Strangely enough, however, viewers may not really miss his character at all.

As a science lover, an element I found enjoyable was the inclusion of nanobots in the plotline. Nanobots are a real technology that is currently being developed to deliver drugs and attack targeted cells in the body. They are used in the movie in a scene to treat drug over dose. It was a creative and smart decision to include something which seems “space age,” yet may actually be showing up in the near future.

Filled with drugs, sex, and a bit of violence, the humor is uncomfortably funny and crude.

Viewers who enjoyed the first film will surely enjoy the sequel. That is not to say it is necessary to watch the first film to enjoy this one. The backstory is explained enough that the movie will still be hilarious and understandable for anyone who enjoys this type of comedy.

Like the first film, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is filled with preposterous moments that make the movie watchable more than once.

I found the first “Hot Tub Time Machine” a bit funnier than the second, maybe due to the incorporation of 80s pop culture which is always hilarious. I give “Hot Tube Time Machine 2” 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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