Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast acritical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Horrible Bosses 2 vs. Hot Tub Time Machine 2: two comedic sequels revolving around a group of male friends getting themselves into trouble.
PremiseThey’re baaaaack! (Much to the delight of the producers of Hollywood.) Horrible Bosses 2 kicks off where the original film left us: the ragtag team of Nick, Dale and Kurt has recovered from the somewhat-successful attempts of trying to kill their bosses, and have now decided to launch their own business. Needless to say, everything imaginable goes awry, and a smooth-talking investor plans to destroy their new business plan. In retalation, the trio decides to kidnap the investor’s son for a handsome amount of ransom money.
Meanwhile, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 reunites us with Nick, Jacob, and Lou, who are still reaping in the rewards from their previous time-travelling exploits. When Lou gets shot by an unknown assailant and is on the brink of dying, however, Nick and Jacob must use their hydrotherapy-approved time machine for more pressing matters. They program the hot tub to travel 10 years in the past to prevent the shooting, but due to a miscalculation, they find themselves 10 years in the future. If they want to save their present-day luxurious lives, they have to alter the future. A reverse butterfly effect? How refreshing.Advantage: Hot Tub Time Machine 2
The ChapsThe team of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis was showered with praise when the original Horrible Bosses was released, and it’s easy to see why—simply, they’re hilarious. Bateman as the straitlaced Nick, Day as the delightfully loony Dale, and Sudeikis as the overtly sexual and hard-working Kurt compliment each other tremendously well with their quirks and personalities. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re some of the biggest names in comedy at the moment. Less internationally renowned but still equally funny, Craig Robinson (as the music-loving Nick), Rob Corddry (as the drug-loving Lou, now the father of the Internet) and Clark Duke (as the geeky Jacob) serve as the returning time-travelling trio in Hot Tub Time Machine 2. A classic case of the “A list” vs. the “B list.”Advantage: Horrible Bosses 2
Line-Up ChangesThere are no noticeable absences from the cast of Horrible Bosses 2. The three core leads are still intact, as well as the delightful supporting stars (Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey). Of course, Colin Farrell will not be returning as the incompetent “horrible boss” scion Bobby, on account of his character having been murdered. More notable and problematic, however, is that John Cusack will not be reprising his role as Adam in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, bringing the quartet of leads down to a trio. While other supporting players are returning (including Chevy Chase and Jessica Paré), that’s a very hard hit that will certainly keep fans of the original film out of the cinemas.Advantage: Horrible Bosses 2
New FacesBoth films benefit from some new blood. Horrible Bosses 2 introduces the charming Chris Pine as the kidnapped son, Rex, while Christoph Waltz(!!!) lends his acting chops to play the sinister yet foxy investor (and Pine’s father). To fill the void of the departed Cusack, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 tapped funnyman Adam Scott to take command as the fourth group member. We love Scott as much as the next comedy enthusiast, but we must default to Waltz on this one—any film with him is destined for (award-winning) greatness. And, as we know from his widely praised guest hosting spot on Saturday Night Live and role in Django Unchained, the man is also very funny.Advantage: Horrible Bosses 2
The SoundtrackAs the wise Nietzsche once said (well, sort of ), “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering, and actual suffering is having to listen to ‘Turn Down For What’ in every comedy film since the spring of 2014.” Yes, Horrible Bosses 2 features the unforgettable DJ Snake and Lil Jon tune in the trailer—original, no, but amusing, certainly. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 reverts back to the rock classics, specifically T.Rex’s “20th Century Boy.” It’s great track that also (ironically) fits well into the plot.Advantage: Hot Tub Time Machine 2
The VerdictWith the smartly assembled cast, fun plot and guaranteed box-office success, we’re more excited to make a trek to the cinema to see Horrible Bosses 2. Crossing our fingers that we’ll bear witness to another “Charlie Day jamming to the Ting Tings while on cocaine” scene. Winner: Horrible Bosses 2
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