Super Troopers 2
2018, R, 100 min. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox, Lynda Carter, Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Marisa Coughlan, Seann William Scott, Clifton Collins Jr., Damon Wayans Jr..
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 27, 2018
It says a lot that this sequel to the Broken Lizard original took 17 years to hit the screen, thanks in no small amount to an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. I mean, apart from the cultish fans of the comedy troupe’s earnestly juvenile and dead gag-heavy schtick, who was expecting, much less paying for even more wacky hijinks from Vermont’s boys in khaki? Granted, if you count yourself among their core fan base, you’ll get to enjoy more of the same, but also less, with everybody looking, well, older.
Comedy is a notoriously fickle genre. While I love the Marx Brothers, maybe you don’t, or maybe you just have Dada issues with Thirties-era black-and-white surrealism. No crime there; to each his/her own guffaws. The only offense here is that Super Troopers 2 – or is that a French Canadian deux given the meandering Canada vs. USA storyline, eh? – elicits more yawns than laughs. Even though the Broken Lizard writing team hurls roughly a thousand gags at the screen, precious few of them rise above the level of the original, and that bar was already set feloniously low.
And yet … you have to applaud the gang’s perseverance in the face of the sound of crickets chirruping in the Vermont woods when they pitched the film to various studios over the years. That’s also a key aspect to why I barely managed a chortle: Super Troopers 2 is a movie out of time and out of sync with comedy in 2018. It might have managed the success of its precursor, if only it had been released in 2002.
If you recall, these Vermont State Troopers were blackballed at the end of the last film, and this sequel picks up the story not long after. Due to a Canada/USA border glitch, the Great White North ends up losing a small parcel of land to Vermont, which semi-naturally leads to the troopers getting back into the ineptly-fighting-crime game via Governor Jessman (former Wonder Woman Carter). There’s some attempts at a rationale for all of this – international drug smuggling! – but when viewing Broken Lizard films it’s generally considered a major faux pas to delve too deep into the technicalities of the story. This movie was released on 4/20 so, y’know, don’t let me harsh your mellow, dude. Some jokes do land on target, particularly a bit involving Troopers Mac and Thorny (Lemme and director/writer/star Chandrasekhar) speaking outlandish and increasingly filthy faux-Québécois to a pair of Yank tourists they’ve pulled over. It’d be even better had the joke not been lifted straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s “French taunting” sequence (we miss you, John Cleese.)
There’s an obvious setup pitting a trio of Canadian Mounties against their American doppelgängers which also threads through the movie, but too often does Super Troopers 2 fall back on stoner cinememes from the original, i.e., the “meow” game, Trooper Farva’s (Heffernan) ugly American antics (this time involving a real bear at one point), and underwhelming, stereotypical potshots at both countries' accents and mores (Bruce McCulloch of pioneering Canuck comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall makes an appearance, so all’s fair in regional comedy and war, I suppose). It’s all very, very Broken Lizard. But hey, if that’s what gets your comedy rocks off, go for it. You hoser, you.
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Super Troopers 2, Jay Chandrasekhar, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox, Lynda Carter, Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Marisa Coughlan, Seann William Scott, Clifton Collins Jr., Damon Wayans Jr.