Plot: What’s it about?
I doubt that there was a big demand for a sequel to 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine. The original film received mixed reviews and did only modest business at the box office. Still, it clearly did something right to warrant a sequel. Tub 2 opened earlier this year to scathing reviews and little buzz at all. It was in and out of theaters before you knew it. The film earned just over $12 million domestically. Significantly lower than the $50 million the original took in during its run. I don’t think we’ll get a third film any time soon. I’m sure the producers wish they could go back in time themselves and fix something. One crucial element missing from this sequel is the absence of star John Cusack. I’m not sure why he didn’t return, but he’s missed. I did enjoy the original film, but simply avoided this sequel during its brief theatrical run. I’ve become much more selective on what I’ll spend my time and money on these days. That, and the fact that I knew it’d be out to rent in no time only furthered my decision to wait. The question is: Did this sequel, however unnecessary it may be, deserve all the hate it received? Read on.
I think the big problem this time is the film feels more than a little tired. Unnecessary would be a good way to describe it, but the freshness of the original film is missing. As mentioned, Cusack is missed, but even his participation wouldn’t have changed much. This time it’s the script that lets them down. The cast can only take it so far. I realize that I haven’t spent much time discussing the plot. That’s because there really isn’t much of one here. Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in a bit of trouble, and attempts to jump back in the hot tub to go back in time and fix things. Lou, along with Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) hop back in the hot tub and start the process all over again. The problem is, they end up in the future instead. They then attempt to alter the future to save their past, which in actuality is the present. They try to contact Adam (John Cusack), but instead, find his son Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). Confused yet? Try not to over-think the plot as it’s mainly just an excuse to throw out more vulgarity than one movie deserves. The first film did indeed have its share of vulgarity and rightly earned its R rating. I’ve no issue with that, if and only if it’s successful. There’s just little that’s actually amusing in this sequel. There’s a feeling of the guys just going through the motions. I did laugh a few times here and there, but far too little for a film with such a talented cast. The film is at its best when it shows the trio of friends simply goofing off and joking with each other. Sadly, we get too few of those moments.
*Worth noting is that this Blu-ray disc includes both the theatrical cut and a new unrated extended cut that adds about 6 minutes of footage. Since this marked my first viewing of the film, I went with the unrated cut so I can’t comment on the changes. There is a surprise cameo which I read is exclusive to the unrated cut. I won’t spoil it here, though.
Video: How’s it look?
Paramount has provided a fine looking transfer here. It’s virtually flawless with no issues to speak of. The print is clean and free of flaws, and the colors are nice and accurate. Facial details are nicely defined as well as strong background details. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is also impressive. This is only a comedy, but the track still says reasonably active. I had it at a lower volume and the vocals still came out strong and clear. There’s plenty of background noise throughout the film as well. The track will please fans of the film and accompanies the fine transfer nicely.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The included DVD contains only the theatrical cut of the film and all of the features appear to be exclusive to the Blu-ray.
- Unrated Cut – I’m not sure if this counts, but since we’re treated to both cuts of the film, I felt the need to mention it here. I don’t care for the method of selecting which version. It’s highlighted, but it can become hard to know which color signifies which version to watch. I know that’s a minor quibble, but most discs with two cuts makes it a lot easier than this.
- Audio Commentary – Available on the Theatrical Cut only, director Steve Pink and Writer Josh Heald provide a running track here.
- The Making of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – (5:06) – Just a brief behind the scenes look. Don’t expect to gain much from this feature.
- The Future as Seen from the Tub! – Broken into 5 smaller sections (The world of the future, Choozy Doozy, Fashion Forward, Smart Cars and Adam takes a (Drug) Trip – Each providing additional vignettes on different topics. Nothing is terribly interesting here.
- You’re in the Hot Tub Now! – This also breaks down in several small subsections covering various topics.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes – Only 4 clips here just under 5 minutes. Nothing here is substantial
- Bloopers and General F%#! Ups by the Cast – Eight minutes’ worth of awesomeness.
- DVD/Digital Copy
The Bottom Line
Despite a few amusing bits, little about this sequel works. It just feels lazy and uninspired. The cast give it their all, but the script lets them down this time. While it’s a shame that John Cusack couldn’t return, even his presence wouldn’t have mattered much here. The disc comes with fine Audio and Video as well as some decent features. Still, you should skip this all together and just stick with the original film.