Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Is there an option to go back in time and get my money and time returned to me?

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – 1 out of 5

I actually really enjoy the first Hot Tub Time Machine and, even though I felt one plunge into the comedic/time travelling waters was enough, a sequel was mysteriously produced. I found myself watching the trailer and not being fully sold on it but saying, "Yeah, sure, I’ll give it a shot." Sadly, the only reaction I had after watching the film was an insane desire to create my own hot tub that travels through time…for no other reason than to convince my past self to not watch Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

Prepare yourself for a bunch of party montages...that each go way too long.

The film pretty much leaves off after the events of the first film and we see that Adam (John Cusack’s character) is missing and Lou (Rob Corddry) is living large thanks to his rock band and inventing the internet, Nick (Craig Robinson) is riding high on his music career that involves taking songs from the previous timeline and making them his own (which actually leads to a fairly funny scene with Lisa Loeb after Nick performs a song that she would have wrote if time wasn’t changed) and Jacob (Clark Duke) is forced into a life of servitude as Lou’s unofficial butler. While holding a party one night, Lou is shot in the dick (you kinda get a feel for the level of humor this film is going for here) and the trio decides to use the tub to travel through time to stop this from happening. The problem here is they ended up heading forward in time into an alternate timeline where Lou and Nick are broke and only Jacob is successful. In this timeline, the trio tracks down Adam’s son; Adam Jr. (Adam Scott…way too many "Adams" in this sentence), in order to help them find Lou's would-be killer.

This seriously has to be my favorite part.

I’m not going to pretend that I was hoping for a ground-breaking comedy that redefines what it means to laugh but I was hoping for something as funny, or even slightly less funny, than the first film. Unfortunately, what I found was a film that is filled with frat boy brah humor and jokes that ceaselessly repeat themselves. It was actually a little heartbreaking because there are so many performers in the film that I am a fan of and this film did not play to their strengths.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2  is here to remind you that Chevy Chase isn't dead yet.

One thing HTTM2 brutally showcases is how truly important John Cusack was to the first film. In the first film, Cusack becomes the character you want to see make things right with their venture backwards in time. He’s a normal guy pining for the "one that got away." You can’t root for Lou because he’s an asshole but an asshole that fits with the film thanks to him arriving in controlled doses. You can root for Nick but he too often comes off as Lou’s sidekick and Jacob just comes off as a side character that is around to provide a "fish out of water" perspective and have him provide cheap punchlines that are based entirely off of the differences in eras and technology. Adam was the normal guy that you sympathized with. You don’t get a normal guy this time and, instead, you get a larger dose of Lou and that proves to be a bad thing. 

That don't look that strange...they could easily pass for a band that would play
an outdoor festival full of dirty hippies.

In the first film, Rob Corddry was riding the line of being annoying and being funny and he rode it quite well because he was balanced out by the other players. This time, however, without Adam to be the balancing agent that prevents Lou from taking over the script and story, we are left with a dose of Lou that isn't diluted and the end result is a non-stop barrage of dick jokes and segments where the guys do insult lines that begin with "You look like a…" and then fill in the blanks. It wear thins quickly and makes the film ├╝ber-repetitive.  Sure, they even do a self-referencing joke about how this formula is wearing thin and they are doing it too much but, by then, the joke itself is already a beaten beyond belief dead horse.  Things only get more recycled and done ad nauseam when you see the script loves comparing its story to other, more popular, films. This isn’t a bad thing if kept under control but every 5 minutes the film feels like it needs to remind you that you are wasting your time with a shitty comedy and are missing out on more iconic, and better produced, films.

He looks hypnotized--Wait!  Hypnotism.  That's how this film was made and released.

There are a lot of great performers in this film that I’m a big fan of and was hoping they could have made the juvenile script work. Corddry can be hysterical in the right arena, Craig Robinson is rarely ever NOT funny, Clark Duke may play the same character in everything he’s in but he does it well, Adam Scott is charming and very funny, and the film even throws in funny-people Kumail Nanjiani (who is hysterical in Silicon Valley—if you’re not watching that show, you are doing yourself a disservice), Community’s Gillian Jacobs and The Daily Show’s Jason Jones. However, none of them seem capable of making the endless parade of weak jokes (or flat out re-used jokes from first film) work effectively. It makes me realize that all these people are, in reality, mortals and not comedy gods and can’t make hysterical miracles happen.

Seriously, you need to be watching Silicon Valley.  Stop everything, even reading this
review, and go and binge on the show and get caught up.  I'll wait...

However, as unfunny as the film is, it didn’t start that way. When the movie began, it did throw out some great self-referencing material and seemed like it could have been another silly jaunt through time…but, as the film progresses, the film starts to repeat itself too often, relies too much on pointless party montages and, too many times, forgets its story about finding Lou’s killer and goes off on tangents that make it feel like the film was actually a short film and pointless filler was added to get it to a running feature length. 

Yay!  Another party montage with alcohol and drugs...

As far as performances go, no one is really giving off a bad one. Lou may be annoying but that’s not because Rob Corddry is bad at playing him, it’s because the character is, deep down, an unlikable asshole (which, in a sense, means Corddry is actually giving off a great performance because he really, really makes Lou out to be a terrible character that is impossible to enjoy…unless, you are a guy like Lou. If that’s the case, you probably love him). The problem is that the comedy is so bottom-of-the-barrel that, even if there was an epic performance hidden within this films gruff exterior, it wouldn’t do much to save it. Showing a little constraint with Lou’s scene might have been the first thing to go for to help save the film and, ultimately, helped the overall presentation but the way scenes go way, WAAAYYY too long shows that there was no interest in keeping the character of Lou under control.

He's like one of those children you have to keep on a leash.

The only thing this film does effectively is make the first one stronger by comparison and act as a reminder of how important John Cusack was to that film (of course, if you watch the unrated cut of the film you find out PLOT POINT DELETED FOR THE SAKE OF SPOILERS). Hot Tub Time Machine 2 had the potential to be a completely unnecessary but potentially mildly amusing sequel to a mildly amusing silly film.  Hell, the film actually starts quite well as it delivers some decent meta gags that pokes fun at itself and its pointless nature of existence but soon, not long after the dick shot, it all goes downhill.  Ultimately, the final product feels so haphazardly slapped together with never ending repetitive jokes and unlikable characters that it feels like its sole reason for existing was just to provide work to the cast and crew.

1 comment:

  1. I totally didn't expect a sequel, and especially one without John Cusack!


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