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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/19/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/12/2015
While it is unfortunate that the box-office receipts show that the masses like more of the same and will flock to whatever carbon-copy they've been told to see, a group of filmgoers cry out for something different. We crave films which are daring and separate themselves from the norm. But, you know what they say -- Be careful what you wish for. An idea which bucks the trends may look good on paper and appear to be something which could satiate those who desire an alternative, but it may also be such an about-face that it all backfires. What seemed fresh and new may be completing revolting. Case in point -- Hot Tub Time Machine 2, which gambles and loses big time.
As you'll remember, inHot Tub Time Machine, friends Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Adam's nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), visited a ski-resort where they'd once partied as teens, and stumbled onto a magical hot tub which took them to the past, given them a chance to right wrongs. Lou took advantage of this and changed history by forming the band Motley Lou and by founding Lougle. As Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens, Lou is one of the most rich and powerful men in the world, spending time with his wife, Kelly (Collette Wolfe) and asking his employees to create bizarre things. He still stays in touch with Nick and Jacob (revealed to be Lou's son) lives with him, but Adam has disappeared. When Lou throws (yet another) huge party, someone makes an attempt on his life. Nick and Jacob are able to get Lou to the hot tub (which Lou now owns), hoping to take him back in time to before the attack. But, they actually travel to the year 2025, where they must deal with life in the future while attempting to track down Lou's assailant.
Raucous comedies are known for being formulaic and part of that formula is having an obnoxious, loud-mouthed character (who is often overweight). I'm not sure why this is a necessity, but it is, and I usually find these characters to be intolerable. In Hot Tub Time Machine, Lou certainly fell into this category, but it wasn't overly annoying for two reasons -- 1. His antics were off-set by the other characters, and 2. We learned about his past and why he acted this way. Lou was a jerk, but he was sort of funny and the music video at the end was classic.
But, in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Lou is front and center. Becoming a captain of industry has only made him more off-putting and offensive. And this time, there's no emotional backstory to save him -- he's simply an ass. He constantly insults everyone around him and the stream of obscenities which flows from his mouth would embarrass a military man. As if this weren't bad enough, and trust me, it is, the movie then puts Lou's life in peril and asks us not only to care, but to hang on while his attacker is found. One would think that this near-death experience would humble Lou, but no, he's insulting people in the future as well. There may be some who find Lou funny, but I guarantee that most members of the audience will want to see him die already.
Lou is certainly the kiss of death for Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but it doesn't get much help from anywhere else. The first film got a lot of mileage out of the playing the teenage angst and "If I only knew then what I know now" angle. This allowed for some fun jokes and even a hint of sweetness amongst all of the crude humor. The sequel tries for the opposite and it fails. The characters find themselves in a future where things are strange and the potential for comedy is much lower, as the "stranger in a strange land" jokes run dry very quickly. Yes, there are a few funny lines here, and the movie gets some mileage out of how Nick mines songs from his original time-line and plays them off as his compositions in his new present, but otherwise, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is one of those movies which is shockingly devoid of laughter.
When it was revealed that John Cusack was not going to be in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the obvious question was, "Why? What else is he doing?" Now we know, he must have read the script. Hamstringed by an insufferable main character, the movie goes nowhere fast, as it's clearly more concerned with being crude than with being clever. Adam Scott appears to round out the quartet, but his talents are wasted, as he simply plays the straight man and doesn't initiate many jokes. Hot Tub Time Machine was by no means a classic, but it had potential and some funny moments. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is that rare sequel where the same creative team has returned, but they clearly run out of gas, as the movie is anything but hot.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 doesn't deserve Lisa Loeb on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1:85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 33 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth of the image is impressive, as is the amount of detail. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. For a comedy, this is a very muscular track, most notably during the time travel sequences. We are treated to thumping bass, as audio which deftly travels from the front to the rear and back again. The stereo effects are easily distinguished and we get individual sounds from the rear channels.
The Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Blu-ray Disc a selection of extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Steve Pink and Writer Josh Heald. "The Making of Hot Tub Time Machine 2" (5 minutes) is a brief featurette which quickly delivers comments from the cast and creative team and some on-set footage. The main focus of the interviews is basically the explanation for why this film exists and what people should expect. "The Future as Seen from the Tub!" (13 minutes) is a six-part series of brief vignettes which gives an overview of how 2025 is portrayed in the film, mainly through the technology shown. "You're in the Hot Tub Now!" (31 minutes) is a series of 10 brief interstitials which examine various important points from the film. These were clearly made as promotional pieces. The Disc contains four DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES which run about 5 minutes. "Bloopers and General F%#! Ups by the Cast" (9 minutes) is a reel of outtakes.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long