In a cinema full of laughter, I turned to look at some of my fellow film critics sitting stone-faced amongst the uproar. It was exactly as I had expected and it was at this point that I realised that I had made the right decision by removing my reviewer’s hat, in favour of my fan-boy cap. Super Troopers 2 simply isn’t a “critic’s film”, but rather an impassioned fan-service movie that delivers on its promise of a second serving.
And the film makes the choice easy for audiences. If you liked the first Super Troopers then you will want to see this long-awaited sequel, and if you didn’t like it, then why would you bother? And so, stepping back into my [none of your business] year-old shoes from 2001, I came to part 2 with nostalgia on my mind and a grin on my face. And what a great time I had.
For those who aren’t familiar with Broken Lizard, they are a comedy troupe from upstate New York whose brand of comedy is best described as a cross between slapstick and stoner. Taking cues from the likes of the Canadian troupe The Kids in the Hall, they have forged a cult following and have written, directed and starred in 5 feature films under their “Broken Lizard” moniker: Puddle Cruiser (’96), Super Troopers (’01), Club Dread (’04), Beerfest (’06) and The Slammin’ Salmon (’09).
Almost a decade has passed since their last outing, and having produced a string of poorly received side-projects such as The Dukes of Hazard, Freeloaders and The Babymakers, they have re-grouped to cash in on their most successful film to date. With 17 years between instalments the expectation was high, and given the lacklustre performance of their subsequent titles, the studio was understandably reluctant to back the project. And so the guys took to crowd-sourcing and struck gold. They achieved their goal in record time and with the full support of passionate fans, they were able to bring Super Troopers 2 to the screen.
Fans, rejoice. Those degenerate Vermont State Troopers, along with their disagreeable captain (Brian Cox) are called back to action when a border dispute breaks out between the United States and Canada. The troopers’ ragtag method of policing is needed to bring order to a disgruntled Canadian community who have been told that their district will be become American. And so begins a flimsy set-up, allowing them to relive their past glory and flex their dim-witted comedic muscle. Of course, this is a no-brainer movie. It is silly, stupid and nonsensical in equal measure, and yet it is wonderfully pitched.
With Broken Lizard team member Jay Chandrasekhar resuming the director’s chair, the troupe slip back into their characters as though time stood still, and with all 5 members sharing the writing credit they have met all expectations and exceeded them in glorious style. Yes, it’s the same schtick, but then again, it’s also a lot more. They refuse to recycle old gags and offer a slathering of new stuff – familiar, yes, but new – and even make reference to this fact at one point when Paul Soter’s Trooper Jeff character fails to recollect his iconic “meow” gag.
Brian Cox, Marisa Coughlan and Lynda Cater also return for this second helping and are joined by a stable of notable guests including Rob Lowe, Sean William Scott, Damon Wayans Jr., Will Sasso, Clifton Collins Jr. and Tyler Labine. Needless to say, Super Troopers 2 is chock-full of cameos and tasty treats. All of the players embrace the nuances of Broken Lizard’s brand of comedy and they commit to the material without reservation.
I mentioned earlier that this is a fan-service film, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Given the fact that the movie was funded by fans, it belongs to the fans. It matches the first film and proves to be its equal. It is so packed with jokes that some inevitably miss their mark, and where some gags will resonate with fans, others will not. The Lizard guys have put everything they’ve got in to Super Troopers 2 and applied the “throw everything and see what sticks” method… resulting in a fast-paced, hilariously outrageous sequel. It can’t, or at least it shouldn’t, be criticised by people with different sensibilities – it simply wasn’t made for them. This is directed at one particular viewer, and it is done so with thanks. So, if you loved the first movie, come and get some more! The rest of you might prefer to check your cinema guides to see what else is playing.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10