The original Super Troopers was the epitome of early ’00s stoner comedy. Pot-smoking highway patrollers haze each other like college sophomores, playing pranks on speeding drivers they pull over and brawling with the local cops. It captured a moment in time; as the members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe pointed out at a recent screening of the sequel, it’s probably the only movie in history that’s loved equally by potheads and cops.
The definition of a cult hit, Super Troopers always seemed destined to be a one-off, not least due to the mixed success of subsequent Broken Lizard movies like Club Dread and Beerfest. But over a long decade and a half that included multiple false starts–at one point, they said it was going to be a prequel set in the 1970s in which they’d all play their own dads–and a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign, Super Troopers 2 was sloppily birthed into the world.
And, almost unbelievably, it’s pretty good. Super Troopers 2 somehow manages to feel even more meandering, flighty, and lackadaisical than the original, but the laughs arrive at a breakneck speed that would have these troopers spitting out their liters of cola if the movie sped by them on the highway. If you’ve spent the last 17 years sneaking the word “meow” into everyday speech and wondering how quickly you could chug every bottle of syrup that you see, Super Troopers 2 will not disappoint you. And its opening scene is somehow even crazier and more hilarious than the original’s.
The premise this time around is infinitely stupider than the original’s relatively grounded corrupt-cops-turned-drug-smugglers plot. The Broken Lizard boys, including Steve Lemme’s Mac, Kevin Heffernan’s Farva, Jay Chandrasekhar’s Thorny, Paul Soter’s Foster, and Erik Stolhanske’s Rabbit, get recruited to help transition a Canadian town into the U.S. for some reason that’s never fully explained (and doesn’t need to be). The troopers clash with local government officials (Rob Lowe’s hockey star/mayor Guy Le Franc and Emmanuelle Chriqui’s Genevieve) and three Canadian Mounties (Tyler Labine, Will Sasso, and Hayes MacArthur), who all do some variation of a cartoonishly over the top French Canadian accent.
That contrived story unfortunately makes Super Troopers 2 feel even more like a loosely themed series of skits than the original. There’s less of a “Johnny Chimpo” conspiracy style throughline in the sequel, and the movie’s events feel less connected, even when they finally coalesce for a predictable climax.
But the premise is also ripe for Broken Lizard’s brand of improvised-sounding comedy. The chemistry among these actors feels as fresh now as it did almost 20 years ago when the original came out, and they play off each other in ways that make it seem like every scene could have gone on for hours before they ran out of material. The Super Troopers have never been particularly nice to each other, but you still always get the sense that they’re friends, despite their generally mean-spirited senses of humor.
Even Farva is still hanging around–if they really didn’t like him, they could have ditched the guy by now. Farva continues to steal the scenes he’s in–Heffernan has honed the character into a blunt-edged comedic truncheon who dominates the movie with his borderline insane antics and one-liners.
The movie also mines the Canadian setting and characters for humor beyond the surface level stereotypes you might expect, though there’s plenty of those as well. But as a self-deprecating French Canadian myself, I can attest that a lot of it rings surprisingly true. All these characters trade witty barbs back and forth endlessly, and it helps that the Canadians give as good as they get, making it feel more like they’re in on the joke, rather than simply being its butts.
Some bits return from the original, including the troopers trying to one up each other as they pull over unsuspecting motorists. The rivalry between them and the Mounties escalates alarmingly throughout the movie; after the Canadian officers lock a live bear in the troopers’ station house, the troopers kidnap the locals, steal their uniforms, and pull out all the stops to smear the Mounties’ good reputation. There’s an exceedingly weird recurring gag where Thorny becomes addicted to a Canadian female growth hormone called “Flova Scotia,” and at one point, Farva lets loose a series of massive, hot farts as the other troopers watch with disgust through thermal headsets.
If that sounds hilarious to you, congrats–Super Troopers 2 was made for you.
|The Good||The Bad|
|Excellent chemistry among the troopers||Plot is contrived and fails to connect each scene|
|Recurring and new jokes are as funny as the original||Sometimes feels directionless|
|Great supporting cast and cameos|
|Fully uses the Canadian setting and characters for comedy|
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Author: Michael Rougeau
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