Monday, February 23, 2015

Movie Review #222: "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" (2015)

Movie"Hot Tub Time Machine 2"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Steve Pink
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Image Source
A few years have passed since the guys changed their futures with their hot tub time machine. Lou (Rob Corddry), who is perpetual asshole, has  made a lot of enemies. One night at a party, Lou is shot in the genitals, and in attempt to save his life, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) try to take Lou back in time to prevent his  assassination. However, they wind up in the future in the year 2025 on an alternate timeline and have to solve Lou's murder.

Holy shit, ladies and gentlemen....we have now seen a movie that has literally made us dumber.

The first "Hot Tub Time Machine" was fine enough. We know a lot of people like it, but to us, it was an average to slightly below average comedy with only moderate laughs. Basically, it's as middle of the road as comedies come. It didn't exactly tear up the box offices when it came out, either, so we have to wonder (and now that we've seen it, we have to wonder hard), why was a sequel to this bastion of mediocrity was ever made at all? At some point, the knee-jerk answer of "because movies like this are relatively cheap to make" is a cop-out, especially here.

Now, after seeing part two of this franchise, we really wish they had stopped at one because average is as good as it's going to get for the makers of this movie. We had hoped the sequel would be at least as mediocre as the original, or maybe even reach the level of decent, but unfortunately, it was bad, really bad. In fact, it was far worse than we had initially thought was possible for this franchise. Filmmakers took the absolute worst part of the first movie and made it the focal point of the sequel! We don't what it is about Rob Corddry, but we don't find him funny in this franchise, or maybe it's just his entire Lou character we don't like because we swear we have seen him in something in the past that we liked, though nothing it popping into our minds at the moment. Lou is an obnoxious asshole in every sense of the word and somehow, this self-centered attitude of using people and treating people like they are pieces of human garbage is supposed to be funny. We get it, it's a joke, don't take it too seriously, right? Well, to us, his attitude and him as a character are not funny. At all. Really, nobody in this film is all that humorous! Craig Robinson's character Nick gets in some good name calling during a "you look like some insulting object" bit, but when it comes down to it, only about one out of a dozen of these insults actually hits their mark. The rest of the insults come off as a cheap, third-rate recycle of the "you know how I know you're gay" argument from "The 40-Year Old Virgin," and while we do not condone the use of the word "gay" as a synonym for something negative, really, this bickering bit has been done before and done in a better fashion elsewhere. It's pretty much all the characters in this movie do for an hour and a half, cut each other down with lame insults. Beyond this, there are the endless pop culture references, like mentioning a gazillion time travel movies and shows like "Back to the Future," "The Terminator," "Looper" and "Fringe," which is not only meant to be funny for some reason, but we also think this was done in an attempt to legitimize "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" as one of the time travel greats. Trust us, it's not. Simply pointing out these movies and television shows exists only to make us laugh at the comparison, and yet, IT'S NOT FREAKING FUNNY.

Also, one of the plot points surrounding Nick is that he stole a Black Eyed Peas song in the original and has now continued to lift songs from 90's pop artists in the sequel with much success as a recording artist. This is a running joke for his character as he takes credit for the songs and butchers them, but secretly always wants to make his own music and has boxed himself in by stealing songs in the first place. Now, this film supposedly takes place in the 2010's, though if he had been allowed to steal these song, would that mean the movie automatically assumes the audience knows that Nick, Jacob and the missing Adam character also went back in time with Lou at the end of the first movie? We don't want to pick apart the time travel aspect since it's stupid and inconsistent to begin with, but the movie doesn't ever explicitly state that's what they did, so when the real joke is just to have Craig Robinson perform and claim Lisa Loeb's song "Stay" as his own only to have Lisa Loeb herself do a cameo as a cat wrangler, wouldn't she knowingly realize that he stole her song since they don't explicitly state that they went back in time with Lou in the first place? Are we over-thinking this waaaay too much? I feel like we are, but hey, it's something we noticed.

At least John Cusack had enough good sense to not reprise his role of Adam Yates in this bombtastic sequel. In his place is Adam Scott, playing Adam Yates Jr., the illegitimate son of Adam from the future. Just like John Cusack in the original film, Adam Scott seems completely out of place in this group, though he isn't really part of their group at all, so it's more understandable. Unlike Cusack, Scott is a far more uneven character who seems to change personality regularly whenever the script requires. Beyond this, he is more than willing to stoop to the low-brow level of anal rape humor. You read that right: anal rape humor. I never thought we would have to say this out loud since it should generally just be understood, and please understand that there are a lot of "funny" things we can take and have accepted throughout the course of a movie, including but not limited to: gay jokes, poop and pee jokes, dick and fart jokes, body humor jokes, physical pain jokes, the whole nine, really. We're not sensitive little flowers who need to have our hands held throughout a movie to make sure our "offense radar" goes off. What we cannot and will not accept are jokes that are completely and massively offensive no matter what way you slice them, like rape jokes against women, rape jokes used in passing but are not a huge point to a story and just used in a mocking fashion, rape jokes that are passed off as humorous in social and friendly settings, or gay rape jokes that are meant to be funny but are so wholly offensive that we considered walking out of this movie because they made us so mad. We can take a lot of crap, but "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" goes above and beyond the offensive scale on more than one occasion.

Using shock humor and verbal diarrhea and hoping it will be funny is not the way to make a movie. Simply saying f-bombs, showing penises and balls on screen or using gay rape jokes as the focal point for the sake of humor is the quickest way to isolate an audience and we're not wrong because this movie bombed this week. It made even less than we thought it would make. Raunch is fine and dandy, but only in the right setting, and in a movie that shouldn't have even been green-lit in the first place, well, it straight-up stinks. It should have been called "Heaping Pile of Toilet Jokes and a Sorry Excuse for a Time Machine Story 2."

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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