Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2


Director:Steve Pink

Cast:Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott

Running Time:93 Minutes


There's a satisfying simplicity in a title like Hot Tub Time Machine. Those self-explanatory words let you know exactly what you're in for. You're gonna get some time travel mumbo-jumbo and a lot of raunchy humor. And as Jacob (Clark Duke) says, looking directly at the camera, "Why mess with a winning formula?"

In this outing, the bros from the first movie (minus John Cusack) accidentally travel into the future and try to fix the parts of their lives they screwed up. Whether John Cusack felt he was too good for a sequel or just decided he'd rather do some more straight-to-video action films is anyone's guess. Though the film cleverly weaves his character into the plot "” without him actually being there "” his weary presence is sorely missed.

There are shades of Mike Judge's dystopian Idiocracy in writer Josh Heald's vision of the future. Sure, there are nice advancements, like free on-demand car service for everyone, but people are even more attached to their devices than ever. And the most popular show on TV is essentially a competitive Truth or Dare, but usually ends with audience members in uncomfortable sexual situations. Depending on how messed up your sense of humor is, this scene will be the high point of the movie.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is consistently funny, but it's something of a minor miracle that the movie doesn't fall apart at the seams. That's because neither Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson nor Clark Duke are really equipped to carry a movie, so the script allows them to share the spotlight. The addition of Adam Scott is crucial. He's got a different comic energy than the rest of the group. Corddry nails the part of the asshole (a part he's perfected over the years), Robinson has the over-confident thing down pat and Duke winningly plays the nerdy underdog. Scott is really just translating Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation to the big screen, but we can all use more Ben Wyatt.

I just wish they'd given Gillian Jacobs "” and really any women "” bigger and better parts than what they get here. She's just one of many wives/girlfriends/mistresses. That's a huge missed opportunity, considering the talent Jacobs displays so regularly on Community. Maybe in the next one they can go back in time and make the women three-dimensional characters.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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