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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 movie review: time to say goodbye

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 red light

Not so much a movie as a mismatched mix of dick jokes and rampant homophobia. I’m kidding: There aren’t any actual jokes here.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): hated the first movie

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s not so much a movie as a collection of dick jokes and — and this is mildly interesting, in a way psychologically revealing of the creators — rampant homophobia, as if what we’re intended to hear is “Hey! You! Look at my penis! Unless you’re a dude, that would be gross.” Or maybe it’s “My penis is awesome! But not in a gay way!” Wait, I lie: There aren’t any actual jokes in Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Scenes sort of ramble on for long, humor-free minutes, getting nowhere near a joke, or even near the setup for a potential punchline. It’s as if while assembling this, screen“writer” Josh Heald ran away in the other direction if he came anywhere near a something funny, just to assure that there would be no whiff of amusement anywhere near the finished product. (By comparison, the first Hot Tub Time Machine, which was awful, suddenly looks competent.) No, wait, I’m still being unfairly fair to this movie. I doubt it actually had a script at all, and instead simply relied on Rob Corddry (Sex Tape), Craig Robinson (Get on Up), and Clark Duke (Kick-Ass 2) to riff on time-travel movies and TV they may have seen — Back to the Future, Fringe, Doctor Who, The Terminator, and Looper all get name-checked here — in the hopes that your brain, which will be otherwise undiverted by what’s on the screen, will invent an actually fun, cool, exciting, and perhaps even witty story about traveling to the future in order to stop something bad from happening in the past. (John Cusack came to his senses and does not return from the first movie. He is replaced, for his sins, by Adam Scott [They Came Together].) No no, hang on, I’m still making shit up: The “something bad” that happens that needs to be prevented is that Corddry’s colossal asshole Lou gets killed. But that would be a good thing, and doesn’t need fixing. In fact, someone please invent time travel now so we can pop back to the past to prevent Hot Tub Time Machine 2 itself from happening. No, wait: we could eliminate the original HTTM in the first place, and save us all a lot of grief.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 for its representation of girls and women.


red light half a star

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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)
US/Can release: Feb 20 2015
UK/Ire release: Apr 10 2015

MPAA: rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, crude sex references, drug use)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    I think we need a term for that style of filmmaking (also seen in the X Movie series and its imitators) that consists purely of references to other things that the viewer might have enjoyed, in the hope that that remembered enjoyment will be enough. “Parasitic film” perhaps?

  • LaSargenta

    I first noticed that in songs and I call it “roll call nostalgia” songs. The first songs I noticed it in were Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the USA” from 1986 and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” from 1989. It seems especially prevalent in country music. Now, it seems every third song on any of the mainstream Nashville broadcasts has some list in it that’s supposed to sum up a life.

  • Danielm80

    Even Billy Joel doesn’t like the song much:

    http://www.ew.com/article/2014/09/27/we-didnt-start-the-fire-billy-joel-25th

    But writing a patter song requires some actual skill at rhyming and rhythm and melody. Dropping a reference and claiming it’s a joke requires none:

    http://teamcoco.com/video/andys-new-comedy-bit

    But I have to admit I like this song more than I should:

    http://youtu.be/16kh-AP4OCU

  • MisterAntrobus

    Metareferential circle-jerk.

  • Rabbit Room

    Using “They Came Together” as the primary reference for Adam Scott (given that he appears in a wordless cameo in that movie) is a really weird choice. Perhaps people would more readily recognize him as “Adam Scott (‘Hellraiser: Bloodline’)?”

    *cough*

  • LaSargenta

    It’s the most recent thing someone’s been in that’s been reviewed here. Not the best known role.

  • LaSargenta

    I think the video is better than the song.

  • Matt Grimsey

    The original film was fun, with the occasional car crash moment. The sequel doesn’t even sound worth bothering with, there was nothing else worth doing with these chars! They missed a trick by not switching to a group of female chars.

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