“Hot Tub Time Machine 1” turned up the comic crudeness and 1980s color palette to a glaring 10. In the 2010 farce, a trio of middle-aged losers time trip to the happiest weekend of their lives.
Adam, Lou and Nick return to the Kodiak Valley ski resort during Winterfest 86. Their shocking second chance changes their lives, placing them on an undeserved path to success they’d never otherwise have imagined.
But boys being boys, the good times don’t last. In the year 2015, Lou sputters in his reign as a high-tech guru. Nick’s years as a music mogul are kaput. And things are going to get painfully worse for everyone, especially for the business- and fortune-gutting Lou.
In the New Orleans-filmed “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” Rob Corddry returns as Lou, a man whose excess has reached rock-star proportions. Craig Robinson is back as Nick. Now a fallen music star, he achieved success only because he stole the hits of the future before the songs’ real creators had a chance to write and record them in the first place.
John Cusack, who co-starred as Adam in the original film, opted out of the sequel, but another returning cast member, Clark Duke, is back as Lou’s son, Jacob. Cusack’s Adam is replaced by his son, Adam Jr., a skirt-wearing future nerd (Adam Scott). Frankly, and meaning no disrespect to the star of “Grosse Point Blank,” “High Fidelity” and “Hot Tub Time Machine 1,” Cusack isn’t missed much.
Another “Hot Tub Time Machine 1” veteran, Chevy Chase, reappears as the enigmatic hot tub maintenance man. Chase’s cameo is even more fleeting than his few scenes in the first film, but he and the others supply more than enough comic firepower for the Three Stooges-level foolishness in “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.”
Lou, Nick and Jacob again take the plunge into their super-powered hot tub, which Lou stashed in a secret hiding place in his New Orleans mansion (Le Pavillon Hotel on Poydras Street plays the mansion’s exterior). The guys time trip by necessity because someone in the present shoots Lou in an extremely sensitive spot. He’s probably going to bleed to death.
The guys’ mission to the past, for the purpose of stopping Lou’s murder, backfires when they end up 10 years in the future. In the broad world of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” the 10-year miscalculation is but a technicality. There’s no time limit on stupid.
Unlike many movies shot in New Orleans, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is actually set in New Orleans. In the film’s future scenario, New Orleans is the Silicon Valley of the South, thus Lou’s relocation of his Internet-based empire, which includes the search engine Lougle, to Mardi Gras town.
The film becomes a who-shot-Lou mystery, as Lou, Nick, Jacob and new recruit Adam Jr. play bumbling detectives in New Orleans 2025.
In tune with the movie’s already crude comic nature, an especially unflattering image, inspired by Mardi Gras madness, exposes itself early in the film. The film’s MPAA rating says of it all: Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence. No false advertising there.
Returning director Steve Pink and screenwriter Josh Heald faithfully recreate the goofball, quick-tempo chaos of their original film. It’s a silly, gross-out frolic that can be irritating but somehow turns tolerable. The same sweet, guy-friends loyalty that warmed “Hot Tub Time Machine 1” wins the futuristic day.