Stacy Embry takes a dip in the lukewarm tub...
The second time in the Hot Tub lost its’ bubbles. I am torn between a desire to understand why a sequel was made and how they even managed to get the script approved by any producer. As you know, the first Hot Tub Time Machine was a charming movie. Time travel after drunken revelry, in the hot tub they’d used decades ago during a college trip (now broken and abandoned like their lives), sends these friends on a journey of “how we ended up here” in the present day. The time they return to is altered because of what they changed in the past. Lead by John Cusack, the journey forward by going backward first, is a fun and even profound romp. Confusing? Yes, but the original was so worth the fuel-induced whacked out eighties reboot. If you've never seen it, then it's well worth the dip.
The last five minutes of the sequel captures some of the joy of the original, but it suffers on taking the romp out by heavy-handing the jokes until they are labored and die an unnatural death by smothering. The supporting characters cannot carry the show and the script is not worth the paper it was written upon. No wonder Cusack is nowhere to be found! His character is repeatedly mentioned, and even has a new unknown son, but John is not on this journey.
The second movie in every series, with the exception of The Empire Strikes Back, is traditionally a disappointment, with the level of dismay varying from slight to great. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is on the greatly disappointing end of the scale. I cannot stress enough the failure; in acting, cinematography, script and even marketing (Of course, I believe they knew they had a turkey so they didn’t sell it).
Without getting too much into spoilers the story is about using the time machine, again. If you need a view into the plot, they mistakenly go into the future this time and the consequences are predictable, even graphic during a virtual-reality game show, and yet boring. Finally, they go back in time to the inciting incident in their modern day to find the person who they were chasing already there. The film resolves.
The end five minutes was by far the most entertaining, with the group Bill/Tedding all over their excellent adventures in space and time - I hungered for that to be the plot. The commentary in the dénouement was brilliant, feeling fresh and new. Probably improvised by the actors, showing their intelligent mad humor we saw in the first film. Again, though, only for about five minutes.
If you, like me, really loved Hot Tub Time Machine, then this is worth a couple of hours. If you have little tolerance for rehashed plot points and a basically implausible plot, or you didn’t see the first film, pass on by. “Thank you, John Cusack… you were right, this piece wasn’t worth the time OR the machine.”
Risk-averse, Stacy would not even enter the TARDIS in case it suddenly
set to motion. Yet, gentle reader, she feels compelled to clarify that
she writes opinion or editorial pieces. By using logic and reasoning,
she always hopes to coherently provoke honest discourse.