Could have been worse 

'Hot Tub 2' scores some chuckles.

click to enlarge IN THE TUB: Glenwood native Clark Duke (right) is among the stars.
  • IN THE TUB: Glenwood native Clark Duke (right) is among the stars.

If you ever need a couple of hours of quality alone time, check out a matinee showing of "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" the day of the Oscars. You won't ever have this chance again, I'm afraid, given that there's not a snowball's chance in a hot tub that "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" will ever get another theatrical release. Maybe, in a nearby and clearly warped future of the sort that "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" envisions, such a thing could happen. But for serious, only in a movie as glue-huffingly daft as "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" would "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" be considered anything but a whoopee cushion committed to film, an instant classic solely in that it will be gone instantaneously and remembered forever as the movie that wore its bottomless stupidity in that idiot nametag it calls a title.

Yeah, no one went to see this thing. That's fine. It'll be on basic cable on rainy days soon enough, as the good Lord intended. You'll get to see Rob Corddry as Lou, a drug-addled metalhead who stuck around in 1986 (oh, spoiler left over from "Hot Tub Time Machine":They go back in time ... via a hot tub) and started coming up with amazing and incredibly lucrative ideas for tech products, such as massive search engine Lougle, which he's also running into the ground. Also, there's Craig Robinson as Nick, a pop star with the gift of anticipating exactly the right song for the moment, but only because he's already heard them all. This may be why you should rush out and see "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" before your local cinema ditches it for something borderline respectable: Robinson's alternate-dimension ripoff version of Lisa Loeb's "Stay" with the lyrics he pieces together by memory. You may guffaw freely in your solitude.

Actually, for a low-budget bonehead comedy, you could do a lot worse than "Hot Tub Time Machine 2." Despite the reasonable success of the seminal "Hot Tub Time Machine," this one was made for only 40 percent of the original's bankroll. That meant skipping such important cinematic elements as, uh, John Cusack. You do, however, get Arkansas's own Clark Duke, playing Lou's kid, Jacob. Events move when the father, a careening jackass, takes a shotgun blast to the family jewels during a mansion party and has to jump into the hot tub time machine to go back and prevent the shooting. Instead Lou, Nick and Jacob wind up in New Orleans in 2025 (a city chosen, surely, for its timeless feel, more than for Louisiana's generous movie tax credits) with little time to retroactive solve the crime. 

In this future, Jacob is innovating the future at Lougle, Lou is a broken-down drunk and Nick, having abandoned his pop ripoffs for original crap, has seen his career implode. Maybe there are lessons to be gleaned here about how to live, how to realize ourselves more fully during this flickering mortal moment we are blessed to inhabit. Or maybe it's all a string of testicle surgery gags, bare boobs, made-up future drug humor, "Terminator" and "Looper" references, projectile vomiting, drunk brides, virtual televised quasi-consensual man sex, Chevy Chase's animated remains and whatever else they could think to throw into this goulash. You have to admire the forthrightness of a movie calling itself "Hot Tub Time Machine 2": It implicitly promises several highly idiotic laughs, and then proceeds to hurdle that admittedly scant bar quite easily.


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