Hot Tub Time Machine 2 review: the curse of the sequel?

The first film was a guilty pleasure. Can this reach the same heights?

How can a film that envisions Nicolas Cage canonised as a saint and Jessica Williams as the host of the Daily Show turn out to be so painfully unfunny and vapid? A question you may ask yourself on exiting this unnecessary time travel sequel that relies heavily on gross gay panic humour and dick jokes.

When Lou (Rob Corddry) is shot in the penis by an unknown assailant, his group of friends attempt to save his life by travelling to the future to stop the killer in a Terminator inspired narrative. Lou, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) return as the hot tub time travellers who are whisked to an alternate future in the year 2025, where they meet Adam’s (an absent John Cusack) estranged son Adam Jr (Adam Scott), who is about to get married to Jill (the lovely Gillian Jacobs from Community, appearing as a plot point and sex object)

The opening sequence introduces its characters in a mildly amusing fashion as we witness how they have used time travel to their advantage. Lou is now the “father of the internet” with his search engine, Lougle, which has made him extremely wealthy. Jacob is his long suffering butler and Nick has made a career out of pilfering famous pop hits.

This sequel suffers for many reasons the main one being that it continually nods to jokes from the original, but refuses to do anything smart with them. Like the Back to the Future franchise, it recognises its previous entry but fails to go anywhere exciting with it. In a film full of rapid-fire, juvenile jokes, the occasional one does stick however, but mostly they are duds. In addition to that its attempts at satire waste any promising ideas by defaulting to the laziest punchline.

Hot Tub Time Machine’s 1980s set male-middle-aged bromance relied on nostalgia to woo its audience making it far more palatable than this regressive flick. Essentially this sequel is far too preoccupied with boobs, stroking the male ego and crass, old-fashioned jokes to deliver anything engaging or truly witty. It takes the viewer back in time to the Stone Age.