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'Hot Tub Time Machine 2' a peppy spray of hit-and-run humor

#HotTubTimeMachine2 is a noticeably peppier romp than the first adventure, via @latimes

Experts recommend frequent cleaning of the hot harvest of bacteria that is a well-used Jacuzzi. Fans plopping into the energetically crass petri swamp of male-humiliation and body-dysfunction humor that is "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," however, surely aren't hoping for a sanitized experience.

And yet this sequel to the 2010 comedy about time-transported losers, with returning writer Josh Heald and director Steve Pink, is a noticeably peppier romp, with the gang — hedonistic jerk Lou (Rob Corddry), bearish wallflower Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou's nerdy son Jacob (Clark Duke) — journeying into 2025 to save Lou from … oh, does it matter?

What counts are agreeably surreal jokes about the future (homicidal smart cars, exponentially more disturbing reality TV), the absence of professional killjoy John Cusack — a condescending weight lifted — and the addition of Adam Scott, who charms easily as Cusack's character's son, a cheery innocent corrupted through his adventures with the other three.

"HTTM" is one of the few raunch franchises ("Anchorman" is another) openly honest about finding the willing descent of dissatisfied, near-suicidal males endlessly funny. But where that MO turned the first film irredeemably sour and misogynistic, it's more merrily self-referential here, and doesn't hijack the generally loopy tone. (One way to pare the women-hating: Ignore them almost entirely!)

Ultimately, "2" is hit-and-run humor as hit or miss as any comedy of its ilk. If one has to sit in front of a jet spray of degradation gags, better it feel like the occasional seltzer spritz than a fire hose blast to the crotch.


'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

Rated: R for crude sexual content, language, graphic nudity, drug use, violence.

Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Playing: In wide release

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