Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Film Review)

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Film Review)

Something very strange and unexpected happened when I decided to shut my brain off for a while and indulge in watching Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

I laughed.

This was a bit of a surprise. But, there was definitely more than one scene in which I actually laughed out loud, which for me, made this comedy sequel actually funnier than the original.

I know. Who knew?

tub2Hot Tub Time Machine 2 focuses on three quarters of the original cast (minus John Cusack) as they are living it up in their new reality that was created by changing the past in the first film. When one of the gang is shot in the crotch, they must travel back in time (which is actually an alternate future) in order to stop the murderer. It’s a little bit convoluted, the whole story, but really, who needs to discuss the plot of a sequel to a film titled Hot Tub Time Machine?

As with any comedic sequel, there is a play on many of the jokes that existed in the first one, but this time around, they seem funnier. Some of the best laughs occur when the guys see themselves in the mirror for the first time in their new future, and go off on their “You look like…” jokes. We’ve seen it before, and will probably see it again, but it definitely elicited some laughs for me.

Maybe I am getting dumber.

The insanity of the TV game show they participate in is also kind of funny. Shockingly stupid, but kind of funny. That’s the gist of the whole film: impossibly stupid, but kind of funny.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 - 2015 FILM STILL - Adam Scott is Adam Jr. - Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/MGM  © 2015 Paramount Pictures Corporation and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

To replace the departed Cusack, Adam Scott plays a larger role in the film, and brings his standard style of wit to the film. He serves as a welcome addition.

In HTTM2, there is exactly what you would expect. Plenty of bathroom and sexual humour. A lot of swearing. Some naked breasts. Many jokes about film references (“This reminds me of Terminator.”). Messing with historical events. Drinking and drug benders that are pretty humorous.

Bianca Haase is Sophie in HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2, from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. HTTM2-FF-003
Bianca Haase is Sophie 

But at the end of the day, it does provide some laughs. This film is perfect for when you’ve had a long day at work, and want to do absolutely no thinking, but perhaps want to giggle a couple of times at how cruel these friends can be to one another, and the complete silliness that is the story line. Despite universally wretched reviews, I would actually say that this comedy is decent in comparison to the other slew of terrible comedies that are out there. It is tough to make people laugh, but Hot Tub Time Machine 2 did it for me.

And perhaps most surprising of all, I didn’t hate myself afterwards for watching this film.

Horrible Bosses 2 (Film Review)

Horrible Bosses 2 (Film Review)

There is not much to say in a review for Horrible Bosses 2.

This film is terrible, continuing a long trend of very poor sequels to comedies.

The original film succeeded on having a fun interplay between the three main characters, played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis, and Charlie Day. We felt bad for them in the first go-round, because the situations at their jobs really was bad, which caused some humour (none stronger than the very good performance by Jennifer Aniston as the sex-pot dentist).

boss2But that fun interplay is gone in the second version, instead replaced by general annoyance. The characters are no longer sympathetic, making them as unlikable as their bosses were. Sure, there is a return to some of the other characters from the original film, such as a reprised role by Aniston, which isn’t nearly as funny any more. Same goes for Jamie Foxx as Motherfu**er Jones, and Kevin Spacey as Bateman’s now jailed boss. Same characters, minus the laughs.

Horrible Bosses 2 really is just a waste of a really good cast.

If the three central guys wanted to make another film together, they should have, as they obviously have some chemistry. But why a sequel to a film that was kind of funny, and definitely not a comedy classic? Were they just being lazy and didn’t want to come up with a new idea for another script? It really seems that way.

boss3The jokes are tired and repeated, as they are with so many comedy sequels. Think of the dreadful Anchorman 2, or the same script, different location jokes of The Hangover Part IIHorrible Bosses 2 falls into many of the same traps as these comedy sequel duds before it.

The plot, this time around, is not to kill their bosses, but to kidnap the son of one of them, so that they can get ransom money in order to pay for their newly created shipment of their invention, the Shower Buddy.

Sounds like a pretty basic plot for a film that we’ve seen many times before, right?

Well, it is.

Honestly, there is no reason to watch this film. In fact, we’d be better off to skip it, and remember that there were some chuckles in the original. And then leave it at that.

Anchorman 2 (Film Review)

Anchorman 2 (Film Review)

A person has to dig pretty deeply in the history of comedies to find an instance where the sequel is as good as the original, not terrible, or even watchable.

Considering more recent attempts to continue a comedy franchise have not been good. Think how much of a photocopy The Hangover Part II was compared to the fantastic original. It was impossible to even eke out a laugh there, because we had actually seen each of the gags before. How about something a little more distant, like Ace Ventura 2? It should make us pretty worried about how the sequel to Dumb & Dumber is going to end up. Probably not good, despite how much we may still love the original for its amazing stupidity and fun.

anchor3Which brings us to Anchorman 2. There is more to the title, something about the legend continuing, but who really cares. This film is absolutely terrible. The first version of the story of Ron Burgundy became a bit of a cult-classic, a highly quotable film with some humour that was not completely run-of-the-mill. It was not a purely slapstick film, but made its fame on its weirdness, which made it so great.

Cut to the second installment. There is an impressive array of repeated jokes from the first one, so if you feel like hearing/seeing them again, but with ageing actors performing them, here you go. Need another round of jazz flute? Check. Maybe some more (now more purposefully attempted to be random) “catchphrases” from Burgundy? There is an endless supply, like they just threw them in there wherever there was the slightest pause in the dialogue. Maybe you didn’t think Brick was odd enough, and thought his adorable quirkiness from the first film needed to be blown up into full-on psychosis, to the point where he isn’t funny, but just a sad attempt to get laughs? Definitely check on that one. Ron Burgundy warming up before going on air? Yup. Making mistakes on air? Of course.

Even the greatest scene from the original, the battle between the networks and their news teams, had to be perfectly recreated. Sure, it gives us a chance to see a ton of cameos, with the likes of Will Smith, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, Jim Carey, Marion Cotillard (seriously? She is a tremendous actress, what was she doing here?), John C. Reilly, and others showing up. But by that point, we just don’t care anymore. We have seen the fight before, and it was funny, and original, and ridiculous. In Anchorman 2, it was lame, over-wrought, and worthless to the plot.

I have long said that Will Ferrell should not get to star in his movies. He was always much better, and far funnier, in small, secondary roles. Let Vince Vaughn run a movie, and have Ferrell as the best friend or something. That works. His lines are funny when you hear a few of them per film. But here, he is unleashed, and it is truly terrible. By the end of the film, his acting becomes increasingly putrid, and we even grow to despise the famous Ron Burgundy voice. In this film, he is definitely more of a lead actor, whereas in the first one, there was definitely more time taken up by the secondary characters. They are cheated a little bit here, as the focus is more on Ron, and the consistent over-acting of Ferrell. Yes, I realize that this is a comedy role, and a silly one at that, and that I shouldn’t critique the acting, but seriously…watch it. He is bad. And annoying.

The only slightly redeeming part of this film, and something they completely underused, was Paul Rudd. I like that guy. He makes me laugh. But he only had a few lines. And they were the only ones that could even elicit a snicker from me while watching it. The rest, was pretty much garbage.

anchor2Oh, I forgot to mention the pretty racist stuff that goes on as well. Sure, Burgundy’s womanizing ways of the first film were funny, but in this one, where his new boss is a black woman, it gets pretty uncomfortable with the racism. Not funny uncomfortable, just odd, misplaced, and in poor taste.

It is not a mistake that I haven’t mentioned the plot of this film. Simply put, it is abjectly terrible. I get the idea of the new news network, and the changing of the media at the time. Okay, go with it. Maybe they could have something intelligent to say, a running commentary below the surface…no. Ron needs to go blind instead. And raise a shark as a pet. And sing a silly song. All of this happens.

I don’t normally hate movies. I either love them, like them, or am indifferent to them. But I really hated Anchorman 2. The fact that it is nearly two hours long, and that I watched all two hours of it, makes me angry.

We, as fans of the first film, shouldn’t have expected anything from this movie. It was, after all, a sequel to a comedy, which never works out well. But the complete disregard they put into the making of the film comes across as a money grab, which makes me feel bad about making the first one such a hit.

Anchorman 2 is garbage. Even though it is now on Netflix, and free, I’d still skip it. Keep quoting the first one, because there is nothing of value here in the second.