UPDATED I’m a pretty firm believer that there’s always something redeeming about any film. Well, congratulations Hot Tub Time Machine 2! You’ve proved me wrong!
This film picks up after the completion of the last film. Lou (Rob Corddry) has used his knowledge of his ‘future’ to erect a giant company, Lou-gle, and make millions, while Nick continues to record songs that were originally made famous by other artists. Somebody shoots Lou in the dick, and the group must travel back in time to figure out who it was. I won’t get in to too many specifics: there’s a lot of dick jokes, the repeat the “you look like…” joke from the first film at least twice, and Lou continues to be a non-redeemable character.
It seems like it’s Lou’s film, as he’s the impetus for everything that happens, did happen, and will happen. But he’s such a giant douche, I can’t really watch the film and feel any sort of empathy towards this character. Even staring eminent danger, where he would vanish from existence, Lou continues to think with his penis. At the conclusion of the film, Lou has not changed one iota. I would hate having this guy as a friend.
Nick (Craig Robinson) at least feels crappy about his stealing songs from artists. The scene where he records his version of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” and then is met by the shoots’ cat wrangler, Lisa Loeb, may be the only genuine chuckle in the film. His arc shows at least some growth in his character.
Not even the usually amusing Adam Scott, as Adam, does much for the film. His character issues are more of a problem of the future that he comes from, than him being generally dislikable. But there wasn’t much funny there.
One of the tenets of time travel films is that characters can examine their own flaws and put things right, or at least try to put things right. HTTM2 shows that they would rather go for the 8th grade style fart gag, or have some crazy scene about future drug use, neither of which does much of anything to advance…anything.
As someone who thought the originally was amusing and an interesting R-rated take on the ‘time travel to your past to set things right’ storyline, part 2 left me lukewarm.
UPDATE: Thanks to Greg who reminded me about the autonomous Smart Car that was trying to kill Lou throughout the film. It was amusing, but it also poked fun at a great time travel film, The Terminator. Some of the graphics of the Smart Car’s “vision” did feel reminiscent of Arnold’s visual displays. But of course, a Smart Car is not as scary as a Terminator.