Almost everyone is back in the continuing adventures of the Hot Tub Time Machine. When we last left our heroes, the world has changed for the better thanks to Lou (Rob Corddry). The self-centered hero stayed in the past and became filthy rich thanks to his invention of Lou-gle.
Things appeared to work for the better, Nick (Craig Robinson) is a Quincy Jones-type music producer thanks to songs he “created” such as “Stay (I Missed You)” which was not ever created by Lisa Loeb. Jacob (Clark Duke), learning in the first movie that Lou is his father, now lives under the shadow of his father.
In Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Lou is shot by a mysterious stranger from the future or maybe the past. The gang needs to use the hot tub to find the killer and hopefully, learn a few things about themselves. This is where our wacky adventure begins as the boys go to the future and run into Adam’s (John Cusack, who does not return) son, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott).
Just bringing back the characters from the original movie is not enough to make a good sequel.
Here’s the thing about sequels that movie studios do not understand. When you make a sequel the goal is to take the things we liked about the first movie and continue it into the second movie. This allows the audience to re-experience the joy of the first movie but in a different context.
The problem with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is that the filmmakers took what we enjoyed about the first movie and discarded it. That may be a little harsh. Let me restate. The filmmakers are stupid and failed to recognize what we liked about the first movie. The movie has most of the characters back, except for John Cusack’s character (first mistake). The movie then continues the gag, a hot tub that travels through time, and made a time machine movie. The filmmakers, must have that the audiences wanted more time travel (second most important mistake).
What made the first movie work was the basic story. What happens when four friends who made nothing of their lives, are given a chance to go back in time and change a moment in time.
Instead we have a movie about time travel, with a loose moral message about is success really something that will make us happy. The movie spends a lot of time defining the rules of time travel (kind of) and playing around with the idea of exploiting the knowledge of the future.
There were some good jokes, but I never laughed out loud during the movie. We’ve seen these jokes in Back to the Future and they did not retell these jokes better. Really the only joke that worked was the reshoot of Lisa Loeb’s Stay video.