Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry), in Steve Pink’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2, is the most repugnant lead character in a comedy since Donny Berger (Adam Sandler) in Sean Anders’ That’s My Boy (2012). And do you know who Donny Berger stole the crown from? Lou Dorchen in Hot Tub Time Machine 1 (2010). There is not an onscreen moment when he is either tolerable or passable as a decent human being. And yes, that’s the joke: he is an unrepentant, narcissistic, self-absorbed asshole. This would be fine, of course, if he was actually funny. After all, those exact same words could be used to define Ferris Bueller. But Lou Dorchen isn’t funny. He is annoying and infuriating. He is the kind of person who struts around wearing a spandex codpiece. He is the kind of person who mercilessly mocks his son and uses him as a butler. He is the kind of person who commissions a giant painting of himself having sex with a tiger to hang in the ballroom of his mansion. And when, at the end of it all, he has a Moment of Clarity and decides to piece his life back together, we cannot accept it. He has not earned it.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a miserable movie. While the first one at least had the good sense to take advantage of the sheer absurdity of its premise, the sequel doesn’t bat its eye at a time-and-space-traversing jacuzzi. In fact, it tacitly accepts the more absurd elements of its convoluted fictional universe, instead laboring under the delusion that we care enough about the characters that we want to see what happens to them after the events of the first movie. And to the surprise of literally nobody, the only actor who escapes the film with any dignity is John Cusack who wisely decided not to return for the sequel (a fact which the film takes great pains to point out more than once). In the course of their struggle to use the eponymous time-machine to foil Lou Dorchen’s murder, the actors playing the lead roles are debased and humiliated. In the course of the film, Corddry gets blasted in the penis with a shotgun, Craig Robinson gets shot in the face with semen, Adam Scott is anally raped on national television (by Robinson, no less), Clark Duke is driven to attempted suicide by his father’s stupidity, and Chevy Chase is yanked in for a perfunctory cameo so insulting that it makes his appearance in Caddyshack II (1988) seem like his appearance in Caddyshack 1 (1988). There is not a single redeeming feature in Hot Tube Time Machine 2. Not even Jessica Williams’ cameo as the future host of The Daily Show in 2025 can salvage it.