‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ is filled with shallow humor

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy

Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Clark Duke return in the movie “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” the hilarious sequel to the first “Hot Tub Time Machine.”  In the previous movie, the characters go back to the past and change their future, but the sequel has the group — minus John Cusack — going to the future to change their present.

While the plot of the first movie followed the characters as they changed significant decisions in an effort to “redo” their unsatisfactory lives, the sequel lacks the stronger plot needed to pull this movie up from being something more than just another hour-and-a-half laugh factory without a profound moral statement.

In the world of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” Lou (Corddry) and Nick Webber (Robinson) have both created picture-perfect lives for themselves by copying the ideas of famous companies and the songs of famous people. Lou is a billionaire “innovator” and owner of Lougle (his version of Google), and Nick is a music industry mogul. Jacob (Duke) is the son of Lou and finds their existence in this new future wrong, seeing that Webber and Lou essentially have no talent of their own to contribute to the world, instead justifying their talent — or lack thereof — by the mass of wealth they have acquired. While this setup seems to give off the impression that these stolen ideas will catch up with these characters, the movie neglects this premise and instead blindly dives into an entirely different, albeit entertaining and hilarious, direction.

After Lou is shot by an unknown assailant, the trio time-travel to the future to find the shooter, who is also from the future.  Where the previous movie was hilarious in taking us back to the ’80s with the bright colors and the wild hair, this movie takes us to the future and makes fun of contemporary society.

This gives the writers a great opportunity to make some pretty hilarious future innovations, such as the modern system of transportation being upgraded to a system of transportation solely operated through upgraded, intuitive Smart cars, which operate on peoples’ feelings and have the ability to predict when they will be needed. The world of the future is delivered in great detail and addresses many different aspects of living in this society, which all fit together quite amusingly.

Corddry properly depicts an obnoxious, selfish, crude, dumb jerk whom, for some reason, we still root for until the credits roll. Robinson wonderfully plays the always-down-to-have-a-good-time Nick Webber, while Duke effectively plays the young nerd trying to keep the two older clowns in check.  Adam Scott, from Parks and Recreation, comes into this time-traveling comedy as Adam Yates, the innocent and sweet newcomer to the group. The characters all interact with each other wonderfully and are hilarious to watch on film together.  Unfortunately, some of the small supporting cast’s members are not as great as the mains. Bianca Haase’s character Sophie is little more than an attractive love interest for Duke’s character, and she does little more than act as “hot girl” for viewers to gaze at rather than a complex character. But some of the supporting characters, such as Lou’s wife (or ex-wife in the future), develop nicely, becoming a little more than just background fodder for Lou’s shenanigans.

“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is great for someone who wants to simply laugh their socks off from beginning to end. It is not meant to be a compelling story or a brilliant commentary on how society might look if we continue down this path of technological progress. Director Steve Pink probably doesn’t care about the negative reviews that have been released for this movie so far — he probably only wants to people to think it is one of the funniest movies that they have seen for a while. And in that regard, job well done, Pink. Job well done indeed.


Contact Evan Stallworth Carr at [email protected].