Seventeen years ago the Broken Lizard comedy team caught major mainstream attention with their cult classic “Super Troopers”, a film that parodied traditional cop films and television shows while introducing many to the team’s unique brand of comedy. After a successful crowdfunding campaign we now have the sequel that was in heavy demand “Super Troopers 2”. Many critics have bashed the film as lazy and disappointing, but is it truly as bad as it’s been made out to be? You’ll have to read on to find out. This is my review of “Super Troopers 2”.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT
“Super Troopers 2” reunites the original cast of the first cult classic seventeen years later with all of the members of Broken Lizard returning to their previous roles. After finding themselves on hard times after an infamous incident involving Fred Savage during a celebrity ride along, Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn (Jay Chandrasekhar who also directed the film), Jeff Foster (Paul Soter), MacIntyre “Mac” Womack (Steve Lemme), Robert “Rabbit” Roto (Erik Stolhanske), and Rodney “Rod” Farva (Kevin Heffernan) reunite with their former captain John O’Hagen (Brian Cox) as the team is reappointed as state troopers in Vermont. Their first mission is to help settle the transition of land from Canada to the United States putting them at odds with the local Canadian citizens and the three Mounties (Tyler Labine, Will Sasso and Hayes MacArthur) they were hired to replace. Along the way they meet the town’s mayor Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe) and international relations expert Genevieve Aubois (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who help with the impending transition of the town to American property. When the troopers discover an undercover drug trafficking practice and deduce its connection to the land transfer they must use all their skills to discover the culprit while also facing off against the Mounties in a war of pranks that play off the cultural stereotypes of Americans and Canadians.
If you saw the first movie you know what your getting from this comic crew. After seventeen years it’s actually pretty impressive that all six of the members of the trooper squad were able to recapture their characters to perfection. These are the same nitwits we grew to love from the original film and all of the actors, Jay Chandrasekhar, Jeff Foster, Paul Soter, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Kevin Heffernan and even Brian Cox are on top of their game. I give comedies a hard time a lot on this blog, but that’s mostly because they have a tough time balancing significance with harmless fun. Here these actors aren’t trying to make any deep, emotional points. This is pure, grade-A fun and you can tell. There’s life and excitement in this movie as the entire cast is completely into it. This is what these guys are made to do and like their other projects it’s hard not to have fun along with them. In a comedy film like this you either go all in or you have to work extra hard to balance the story. In this case the actors go all in and it makes “Super Troopers 2” one of the most enjoyable shameless comedies I’ve seen in years.
I very much enjoyed the remainder of the cast as well, especially the ones that portrayed the Canadian figures. A few notable Canadian actors are on board including Emmanuelle Chriqui, Tyler Labine and Will Sasso while American born actors Hayes MacArthur and Rob Lowe play other prominent roles. A credit to the Canadian actors for playing off the stereotypes of their own people. It feels authentic and while this film does make fun of both Americans and Canadians neither side feels like they are done wrong. The actors are having fun and take things just far enough. Rob Lowe specifically plays a pretty funny character with a perfect stereotypical Canadian accent and he ends up being one of the best parts of the film outside of the main cast with loads of charm and a commitment to his character’s quirky nature. This is a likable cast who understand what kind of movie their in. These performances are shamelessly goofy but never go over-the-top. There’s just enough balance and self-awareness to make “Super Troopers 2” perfect comedy fun.
As I said before comedies have to do one of two things. If a deeper narrative is incorporated into the story the film must balance hilarity with lightheartedness. However, if the point is to just make people laugh you have to go all in and be consistently funny and goofy. “Super Troopers 2” accomplishes the later perfectly building on the impact of the first film and cranking up the hilarity to eleven. In other words “Super Troopers 2” is a very funny movie with great, creative gags and unique comedic situations that keep you hooked and never get boring. For the most part Broken Lizard gives us exactly what we came for. They know their audience, they know what’s expected of them and they make it happen. I actually enjoyed “Super Troopers 2” more than the original. I felt it was funnier, had a much more entertaining story and the jokes were more memorable overall. We also get callbacks to jokes and pranks from the original film which adds a bit of extra fun for those who enjoyed the previous entry so many years ago.
Going into “Super Troopers 2” I was actually concerned about how it would handle the conflict that arises between the Canadians and Americans in the movie. It’s an easy target for a story considering the current political climate in the United States but to my surprise it’s a pretty tasteful film that pokes fun at cultural stereotypes of both countries without coming off as blatantly racist or mean spirited. Actual Canadian create extreme representations of Canadians while Broken Lizard, specifically Kevin Heffernan’s Farva, show the extremes of American culture. Even the most cliché of jokes, like the fact that America still has not adapted the metric system or Canada’s obsession with hockey, are fun and easy to appreciate because Broken Lizard doesn’t just stop at making light of these stereotypes. No, they go all in and build on the jokes to make them feel unique and fresh. It’s a testament to the troupes united talents as writers and comedians and to the entire cast for their social and cultural awareness. It’s just an all around fun movie that feels timely and fully owns its Americans versus Canadians premise.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
The core problem for me with “Super Troopers 2” is that in many ways it leans a little too much on the same formula of the first movie. It’s a different story with different antagonists and some new characters but there’s a lot of the same elements that play out the same way as the first film. The troopers engage in a prank war with a rival troop, drugs smuggling becomes a problem and even the finale brings the troopers to a familiar backdrop to settle the score. It’s fun to give fans what they want but I wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling that “Super Troopers 2” is unoriginal. Even having one of the troopers fall in love with a member of the rival faction is revisited. It’s the easiest criticism I’ve had to give a film in a while that “Super Troopers 2” leans too much on giving fans what they already expect rather than truly trying something new. However, the movie does balance this out with an original overlapping story involving the Canadians and some new humorous situations, so it doesn’t feel tired it just feels safe. Considering the many chances Broken Lizard seemed to take in making this project playing it safe just doesn’t feel very acceptable even if the final product is just as enjoyable as we hoped it would be.
With the above criticism comes predictability and that is another big flaw with this film. You can see the situations coming from a mile away. There are very few surprises and it would be easy to call “Super Troopers 2” a lazily made film that panders to a fanbase. I called many of the twists the film threw our way, even one that ends up being a double twist near the end, which didn’t really make the film any less fun for me, but it prevents this sequel from being that much more enjoyable. It’s an easy film to hate because it rehashes so much material and situations from the first movie, but ironically enough that’s also why it’s so enjoyable. It’s not the kind of sequel that tries to draw in new viewers but considering that the fans raised nearly $5 million to get this movie made before it even had studio backing who could blame Broken Lizard for pandering? I just wish they took more chances because this was a very fun movie and could have taken its narrative in so many goofy directions that utilizing the same formula felt a little weak.
I loved “Super Troopers 2”. I really did. I’m not much of a comedy fan but when a movie totally owns its goofy nature and commits to being harmless fun that’s something I can respect. Broken Lizard gives fans what they wanted with this movie and that’s all they had to do. They weren’t reaching for the stars here although I admit there is a certain lack of originality and creativity in some parts of the narrative. Like I said though they knew who they were making this movie for. The fans wanted it and we got a film that brings out the best in the cast and capitalizes on the premise to keep us laughing the whole way through. What it lacks in creativity it makes up for in pure hilarity and it’s a big step up from its already amusing predecessor perfecting a proven formula and showing that Broken Lizard can still make it happen even seventeen years later. It takes a lot for a goofy comedy like this to impress me, but “Super Troopers 2” did the trick. If you’re a fan of the original or just enjoy the comedic style of Broken Lizard this movie gives you everything you’ll be looking for an then some.