Stephen Hawking, the brilliant cosmologist and subject of the Oscar-bound The Theory of Everything, has long maintained that time travel isn't possible, never mind Einstein and wormholes and space warps.
Clearly, he has not seen Hot Tub Time Machine, or its even more stunning sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2. All you need do to propel yourself into another dimension is drink vast quantities of alcohol, snort snowdrifts of white powder, then jump into a bubbling cauldron cut with something called Nitrotrinadium. Next thing you know, you can rewrite your whole life, ripping off the inventors of Google, say, or stealing No. 1 pop songs and claiming them as your own.
That's what Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry) and Nick Webber (Craig Robinson) have done, making millions with the "Lougle" search engine and that '90s Lisa Loeb ditty, "Stay." And so, as Hot Tub Time Machine 2 begins, the best friends are rich and famous, and all is right with the world.
Except that it isn't. For one thing, John Cusack, who was Adam Yates, the third best bud in the 2010 original, is gone, replaced by Adam Scott as his son, Adam Yates Jr. (Did Cusack go back in time and write his character out of the sequel to save himself from career embarrassment? I think so.)
For another thing, somebody tries to assassinate Lou during one of the orgiastic fetes he throws at his New Orleans manse, "Shangri-Lou." He is shot in the groin, resulting in gushes of fake blood and a level of sophisticated comedy that hasn't been realized since the days of the Algonquin Round Table.
Lou and Nick, joined by Adam Sr.'s nephew, nerdboy Jacob (Clark Duke), jump back into the titular tub to find out who tried to kill Lou. But instead of going back in time, they're taken 10 years into the future, where the guy emceeing the Academy Awards on Sunday night is the president of the United States. And where smart cars are like smart bombs - computerized, deadly.
Cartoonish gore, gratuitous nudity - topless actresses, and a topless Corddry asking the makeup artist whether he needs more "nipple rouge" - and jokes about gay sex, group sex, sex with Marilyn Monroe, any kind of sex abound.
Quantum theory, sure. But in the future, in the past, at all points along the space-time continuum, the Theory of the Teenage Male Mind throws everything out of whack.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 ** (Out of four stars)
Directed by Steve Pink. With Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott. Distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Running time: 1 hour, 33 mins.
Parent's guide: R (nudity, profanity, drugs, cartoon violence, adult themes).
Playing at: area theaters.EndText