Comedy Troupe Broken Lizard Inflicts "Super Troopers 2" On Fans

For anyone who spent 2002 in high school or college, references like “liter of cola” and “right meow” might evoke the foggy feeling of a time when cargo pants were king and Gerard Butler was an up-and-coming action star. Those catchphrases are of course from comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s “Super Troopers,” which became a sneakily widespread part of the pop culture parlance thanks to a stellar showing on home video – when it was still credibly called home video. What the movie lacked in wit it made up for in infectious stupidity, riding high on the kind of comic impulsiveness that absolutely does not lend itself to a sequel.

Think of “Super Troopers 2” as less long-awaited, more obsolete; a case study in why comedy sequels almost never work.

Sixteen years later, the troupe is back playing the same aggressively weird, goofball cops that still can’t quite be corralled by their grumpy captain John O’Hagen (the always wonderful Brian Cox). Vermont patrolmen Thorny (director Jay Chandrasekhar), Foster (Paul Soter), Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), and Farva (Kevin Heffernan) haven’t changed a lick, but for one prickly detail – they’re no longer cops. After a tortuously unfunny opening sequence, we find out that they were fired from the Spurbury Police Department for a fatal accident involving an 80s sitcom star, leaving them to toil away in a variety of normal jobs.

But sure enough, O’Hagen soon comes calling with a proposal to get his crew back in the saddle. It’s been discovered that a small piece of land along the Canadian-U.S. border thought to belong to Canada actually belongs to the United States. O’Hagen and Governor Jessman (a returning Lynda Carter) suggest that the Super Troopers take over for the region’s Canadian Mounted Police and that if they succeed, the gig might become permanent. The group jumps at the chance, setting into motion lots of jokes about the metric system and Rob Lowe doing an appalling Canadian accent.

The majority of the pic’s mostly forgettable shenanigans feature our protagonists butting heads with the Mounties (Will Sasso, Tyler Labine, and Hayes MacArthur) they’re replacing. The biggest laughs therein result from pedestrian physical comedy that comes off like low-level Farrelly brothers, much of it involving a committed-as-ever Heffernan relishing his return to the land of Farva. His antics only go so far though, evincing a disjointed structure that feels more like bits strung together than a coherent tale, much less one that needed to be told.

Lowe is a total flop as the town’s mayor Guy Le Franc, and Emmanuelle Chriqui doesn’t fare any better as Canadian-U.S. ambassador and Rabbit love interest Genevieve Aubois. The screen time they steal way from the Troopers feels tacky after a 16-year wait, and the gags they feature in are uniformly groanworthy and passé. To wit, light homophobia and sexism run through the film’s blood, underscoring that the Troopers’ time has passed. The idea of irreverent cops no longer bears the same aura of innocuousness it seemed to in the early 2000s.

The only compelling thing about the film turns out to be its partially crowd-funded production – a dubious distinction for a project that ostensibly exists “for the fans.” (As is the insidious hitch with crowdfunding, supporters didn’t receive any financial stake in the film; only “perks” like tickets and merchandise.) There aren’t any fart jokes but there might as well be; somehow the humor is even more lowbrow than in the original, begging for the relative smarts of 2006’s “Beerfest.”

Incidentally, Chandrasekhar had this to say in 2006 about a potential “Super Troopers 2”: “[The original] has sort of a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, so all we can do is mess it up.”

A comedian’s first instinct is usually their best.

-J. Olson

Rating: ★★ out of ★★★★★ (Not So Good)

Release Date: April 20, 2018
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Screenwriters: Broken Lizard
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Rob Lowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lynda Carter, Brian Cox, Tyler Labine, Hayes MacArthur, Will Sasso, Marisa Coughlan
MPAA Rating: R (for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug material and some graphic nudity)