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Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Paramount Pictures: (L-r) Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson in "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"Hot Tub Time Machine turned out to be a pleasant surprise when it was released and proved itself to actually be a pretty funny comedy. It didn’t appear like it would be worth much on the surface, but it eventually developed a nice, little following during the few years that it’s been out. That’s the main reason why we have Hot Tube Time Machine 2. There’s definitely an audience out there for it, but will it be able to meet expectations?

Kicking off where the first one left us, we find Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) living out the lives that they carved out for themselves on a trip thanks to traveling back in time to 1986. All has been going smoothly since their return, but when Lou finds himself in a dangerously precarious position, the trio decide to hop back into the hot tube time machine in order to head to the past and right the wrongs that have been presented to the group.

As to be expected, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 remains similar enough to the original in order to create a feeling of familiarity, but there’s also enough included to make this seem fresher than the average sequel usually does. It uses some of the same type of humor while adding a few new ideas to the mix. While doing that, it also plays on a lot of the same things that we see in the original in terms of the characters, their personalities and a few dilemmas, but it’s just there to act as filler.

I can’t say that Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is as good as its predecessor, but it is a comedy that does manage to provide a legitimate amount of entertainment value. As you’ll discover for yourself, this does manage to draw out laughs where it probably wouldn’t for the average movie done in this style. It’s extremely raunchy like those, but this succeeds in somehow finding a way to turn this style of comedy into something that doesn’t feel like it’s raunchy just for the sake of being raunchy.

Predictably, the comedy is where the characters shine. Outside of these guys and what they do, nothing else in this movie is great, but they find a way to make it worth your while if you’re into these kinds of features. Having them play essentially the exact same guys this time around is something that may also help fans of the first one get into it more so than if they would have added more dimensions to everyone that returned. Doing it this way allows for a seamless transition from one movie to the other as well as making it more relatable for viewers.

If it wasn’t for the actors, this movie wouldn’t have had a chance to make it to the finish line without collapsing. This leads me to the structure, which is also the only major negative that I see in Hot Tub Time Machine 2. The lack of quality outside of the actors would usually kill any movie, but this is avoided here due to those guys and the jokes that are funny more often than not.

The one notable absence from the original cast is John Cusack. He was in the lead role in Hot Tub Time Machine, but decided not to show up this time around for whatever reason. This could have been something that hurt the film, but they actually found a respectable way to write him out of the movie. I figured they would come up with some stupid reason for him not being included, but it actually fits more than it probably should have.

Even though it doesn’t live up to the outrageous quality of its predecessor, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 doesn’t do any damage to the brand that was created in 2010. Then again, when you look at the fact that it’s a sequel, this could have easily been a simple knock off that was simply being released with very little effort in order to make a few extra dollars. That’s the expected approach for sequels, but luckily, that’s not what we have here.

Score: 3/5

Rating: R

Director: Steve Pink

Cast:
Rob Corddry
Craig Robinson
Clark Duke
Adam Scott
Chevy Chase
Gillian Jacobs
Bianca Haase
Jason D. Jones

Film Length: 93 minutes

Release Date: February 20, 2015

Distributor: Paramount Pictures