As movie award season was approaching, I needed to make some tough decisions. While I definitely enjoy seeing great movies, I also appreciate terrible movies, Or, at least, I do more than most normal people. After looking through this year’s Razzie nominees, I made a few quick decisions. For example, I have never seen The Human Centipede, and I absolutely REFUSE to watch that film or any of its sequels. So that was one movie I was preemptively sweeping off of the table.
Then I started reserving titles through my library system and waited for the DVDs to start coming in. I mostly reserved titles on the “worst picture of the year” list, plus a few titles in other categories that jumped out at me for different reasons. I reserved Hot Tub Time Machine 2 specifically because D. highly recommend it as being laugh-out-loud funny. Of course, D. also recommended White Chicks to me (and I’m STILL traumatized from the experience of watching it), so his taste in movies is a little questionable.
My background before watching this film was: I had never seen the original Hot Tub Time Machine movie but I’d heard mostly positive reviews of it, even from people who prefer good movies to bad ones. Also, I happen to be a big fan of several of the cast members, especially Rob Corddry, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, and Kumail Nanjiani. With that under my belt, I started to watch the movie.
Overall, I find myself mostly lukewarm on this film. It wasn’t the least funny comedy I watched for this year’s Razzie season (stay tuned for my review of Mortdecai — UGH!) but it also lost some points from me for … I’m going to say “insensitivity” issues.
So, let’s get to the humor first. I laughed out loud several times at this movie, which I can’t say for some of the other comedies I watched. Corddry et al are good comic actors, and on the whole they were a good fit for a movie that was basically fun and breezy popcorn fodder. The idea of going backwards and forwards in time has lots of comic potential, ranging from getting drunk in a hot tub in order to move through time to seeing how your past and future selves have changed. The idea of Nick (Craig Robinson) becoming famous by recording his own versions of popular songs was especially well done, and his music videos were hilarious!
Unfortunately, some of the humor was at other people’s expense, and that’s where the insensitivity comes in. I know that humor is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone has their own idea of whether or not the humor bar is set too low. I’m going to make an educated guess and say that this movie probably goes over better with men than with women, because there is a lot of guy humor. By which I mean “straight guy” humor. And yes, between spending time around guys and my years spent listening to The Howard Stern Show, I know that a big topic of straight-guy humor is teasing their fellow straight guys of being gay. In this movie, the “you’re so gay” stuff was … I’m going to say a bit much. Yes, I know it’s humor. Yes, I know it’s hyperbole. But still, the homophobic vibe was over the top for me.
But now let’s move on to a topic that affects me in a much deeper and more personal way. This movie had the nerve to make fun of Fringe. And dammit, NOBODY makes fun of Fringe!!! That is, like, one of my top favorite TV series EVER. I love Fringe even more than I love The X-Files, AND I LOVE THE X-FILES! Anyway, when they’re all having a conversation about time travel and Jacob makes a reference to alternate universes “like in Fringe,” they all make fun of him and start calling him a nerd, even singing to him about how he’s a f—ing nerd.
In related news, since I talked to D. about this movie and expressed my outrage over them insulting my beloved Fringe, he has sung that song to me multiple times. I’m going to file this under “obnoxious behavior” and move on.
So, in conclusion, HTTM2 is funny in a “straight guy” kinda way. And ALL OF YOU SHOULD WATCH FRINGE, BECAUSE IT’S FRIGGING AWESOME. And most importantly, don’t let anyone call you a nerd for loving that show!!!