Combustible Celluloid
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With: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Chevy Chase, Collette Wolfe, Bianca Haase, Jason Jones, Kumail Nanjiani, Kellee Stewart, Josh Heald, Gretchen Koerner, Lisa Loeb, Jessica Williams
Written by: Josh Heald
Directed by: Steve Pink
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/20/2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Killing 'Time'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 continues the adventures begun, obviously, in Hot Tub Time Machine, the modest hit from 2010.

On that movie, director Steve Pink and star John Cusack continued a theme that they established in the films Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, on which they were both co-writers.

In all three movies, the Cusack character is deeply unsatisfied with his lot in life and finds that looking into the past -- figuratively or literally -- might hold the key to his future.

A passionate, romantic longing drove all three movies, and whatever characters or humor sprung from that basis, all the better.

Unfortunately, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, while containing a few mid-sized laughs, doesn't really have such a reason for existing.

Noticeably, Cusack isn't here. He's replaced in the main quartet by Adam Scott, who plays the Cusack character's future son, Adam Jr.

Now, rather than going back in time in search of a second chance, Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke), literally travel through time to save Lou's private parts.

The wealthy Lou, having become a rock star and invented an internet browser, is shot in the crotch by an unknown assailant. The trio jumps in the tub, hoping to travel to the past to prevent it, but wind up instead in 2025.

With a clue from the mysterious repairman (Chevy Chase), they kinda-sorta attempt to figure out who the killer is, while realizing that their own futures aren't so bright.

But the movie is really about sex jokes, jokes the characters make at each other's expense, wild parties, and a vague subplot about drug and alcohol addiction.

Cusack used to be the heart of this group, also capable of delivering a funny line. Scott is funny, but he's a goofball, a cartoon character much like the others. Some attempt is made to crowbar Duke into the lead spot, but he doesn't quite make it.

It seems as if no one really knew what they were doing here, or what they wanted to say, and so it's up to the cast to kill time just riffing on each other.

Sure, they can be funny, but it's unlikely that the laughs will stick around in the memory, rootless and pointless as they are.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 vaguely recalls a plot point in this year's terrific time travel movie Predestination, in that it's an anomaly, something that just showed up in the timeline, totally disconnected to anything that matters.

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