"Hot Tub Time Machine 2" (HTTM) really wants to be funny. The actors are having fun making the film, the chemistry among the cast is solid, and the storyline flows smoothly from the first film.
What's missing? The full-out, continuous laughs of the first film. There are many gags in the sequel that begin with hilarious potential, but they fizzle into dull, laugh-less dissatisfaction. A killer smart car, American Revolution Lou, a drunk bride, a 24-hour drug trip, and a Chevy Chase cameo are a few gags that start out with wicked potential and end flat.
What's good? The plot. Following an act of revenge against Lou (Rob Corddry) at a party, Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke) use the HTTM to save Lou, but end up in an alternate universe. The film brazenly steals time travel basics from "Terminator," "Fringe," and "Looper" which actually give it a witty credibility and ambitious cleverness.
It goes without saying that if you are a fan of the original, you are at ease with jokes about genitals, drugs, bodily functions, sex, nudity, and every element that was used to make the original entertaining. The final scene sets the stage for HTTM 3. If you can appreciate a movie for what it's worth, grab a few giggles, and just unwind - this movie earns a 2 out of 4.
"The Hangover," "Iron Man," "The Lord of The Rings" and "Harry Potter" proved that sequels don't have to suck. While the film is successful in not re-hashing bits from the first film, there are no connections with the new characters or back stories for future Lou and Jacob to make the film meaningful. For sequel snobs, this movie earns a 1 out of 4.