'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

February 19, 2015 3:20 PM

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'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The future of American screen comedy looks an awful lot like the present -- which is to say, steeped in pop-culture references, groin-fixated humor and gay panic -- if we are to believe the enjoyably screw-loose vision of "Hot Tub Time Machine 2." Fittingly enough, given John Cusack's conspicuous absence this time around, director Steve Pink and scribe Josh Heald have ditched their original back-to-the-'80s conceit and leapt ahead to 2025, uncovering a not-so-grim dystopia where dogs ride hoverboards and automobiles have minds of their own, but where life continues to serve up the same old setbacks and letdowns as always. Tackling its time-travel premise with even less rigor than its predecessor, but just the right amount of slapdash, surrealism-for-slobs attitude (plus the welcome addition of Adam Scott), this unaccountably likable sequel may not match the first film's fairly modest $65 million worldwide haul, but should draw enough returning fans to see its box office fortunes take a dip rather than a plunge.

Before it ended on a happy note of supernatural wish fulfillment, the first "Hot Tub Time Machine" (2010) managed to deliver a surprisingly bittersweet meditation -- OK, more of an extended brain-fart -- on the irretrievability of the past and the inevitable disappointment of the future. Those tough...

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