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‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ is a blast of crass from the past

Grant Pearsall
Staff Writer

You already know if you are the kind of person who would be interested in seeing “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” The film has a self-selecting audience, and it is really quite simple to determine if you are in or out.

Do you find panicky homophobia funny? Check.

Do you find casual racism hilarious? Check.

International Education Week

Pointed and nasty sexism? Check.

Pretty much any other -ism? Yup.

Did you see “Hot Tub Time Machine,” the former? No? Who cares.

Just for the sake of due diligence, here is the plot to Steven Pink’s sequel that nobody asked for:

Following the events of the previous film, Lou (Rob Corddry) is a successful musician/business mogul, having altered the events of the past to now be both the lead singer of Motley Crue (now Motley Lou), and the inventor of “Lougle,” the internet’s premiere search engine. Likewise, his pal Nick (Craig Robinson) has become a famous performer, passing off hit songs as his own before the real artist has a chance to create them (See: A chuckle-worthy rendition of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.”) Meanwhile Lou’s son, Jacob (Clark Duke) has grown tired of his father’s hard-partying antics and wishes to… get laid or… be generally present as the plot demands?

Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson star in "Hot Tub Time Machine 2."
Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson star in “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.”

Within the first fifteen minutes of the film Lou’s genitals are blasted off with a shotgun by a mysterious assailant. The gang must use the strange narrative macguffin of the time traveling hot tub to save his life and uncover the identity of his would-be killer. In reaction to the attempted murder Jacob vomits directly into a woman’s plentiful cleavage. Once you set a bar so low the only way is up, right?

Notably absent here is Adam (John Cusack), the protagonist of the original film, who probably passed because he has what they refer to in the industry as ‘dignity.’ After all, this is a film where a man’s testicles become swollen with futuristic nanobots and must be drained, sending white fluid spraying into the faces of his friends.

Do you like absurdist, low-brow body humor?

Check.

The original “Hot Tub Time Machine” was a cute and fun romp that played on tropes of 80’s movies, and Cusack’s flagging career mixed with dark, improvisational humor. Pink’s sequel replaces all of this with an overly complicated time-travel plot that makes the forthcoming fifth entry in the Terminator franchise look quaint. And hateful, hateful humor.

When the trio of time-travelers arrive in what they believe to be as the past only to be greeted by a topless Sophie (Bianca Haase) of the future, one of the three other patrons in my theater loudly hollered, “Boobs!”

You cannot put anything past audiences these days.

A potentially pointedly funny moment comes in the form of “Choosy Doozy” a television show of the would-be future hosted by Christian Slater in which two contestants are forced at the point of violence into doing a random act as decided by the audience. The joke is that we as a society are all getting dumber and everything is the lowest common denominator. Suddenly the film is on the cusp of some meta-commentary, eh?

The potentially sharp premise is of course spoiled as it devolves into two of the male characters being forced to have sex with one another, because that is abnormal behavior worth a nervous laugh?

Check.

Maybe the film has caused us all to time travel to the not-so distant past of sheer homophobic fear?

Nope, it is still 2015.

At one point Jacob uses a futuristic chalk board to chart out the narrative of the film for the benefit of his fellow time-travelers and of course the audience.
“I’m bored by this shit!” Lou hollers in exasperation.
Could not agree with you more, sir.

Grade: C-