Film Review – Super Troopers 2
Super Troopers 2
If you enjoyed the kind of juvenile comedy of Super Troopers (2001), then there’s a good possibility you’ll enjoy the sequel, Super Troopers 2 (2018). Seventeen years after the original, we find the Vermont highway patrolmen Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar), Foster (Paul Soter), and Farva (Kevin Heffernan) back at it with their blend of hijinks and pranks, done in their usual bad taste and to the chagrin of Captain O’Hagan (Brian Cox).
I’m not going to tell you that the original film was a touchstone of comedic genius, but I do see why it has gained a cult following in the years since its release. The comedy group Broken Lizard (comprising of the aforementioned group of actors, minus Brian Cox) revel in the absurdity of the situations they put themselves in. Each one shares a writing credit with Chandrasekhar taking directing duties. They jump into the lewd and crude nature of their material with unapologetic glee. Even when jokes fall flat, the chemistry of the troupe is so strong that they don’t seem to mind it. They throw everything up against the wall – regardless of how vulgar or offensive they may be – hoping that the majority of it sticks. Given that this sequel came to be due to crowdsourcing efforts, it appears it worked out in the long run.
The plot for the sequel operates identically to the first, working as a thin string for various skits and scenes to be strung one after another. This time, the troopers are sent northbound to oversee a U.S./Canada border realignment, taking over authority from the local Mounties (Hayes MacArthur, Tyler Labine, Will Sasso). We also meet Rob Lowe’s town mayor and Emmanuelle Chriqui’s cultural attaché who assist in the transition. Of course, this premise leads to countless American/French-Canadian jokes, from the differences in healthcare, sports, beer, prostitution, government – you name it.
Super Troopers 2 is not as good as other comedies that have come out this year. It doesn’t have the bite that Game Night had, nor is it as smart or insightful as Blockers was. Many – and I mean many – of the jokes don’t work. The fact that the narrative is a collection of individual skits lends to a loose and laid back tone. The story veers in different directions: at one point the troopers have to deal with a bear that magically appears in their station, and a few scenes later try to bust an illegal drug operation. Some of the cultural jokes were in such poor judgment that it may have crossed the line. There’s a Japanese joke that is not funny at all, involving a dream/hallucination sequence that is so off-putting that I’m surprised they kept it in. There’s another ongoing gag dealing with Thorny taking female hormones that starts off funny but then wears out its welcome very quickly.
But I did laugh when the comedy worked. The film hits its high points when the performers are allowed to use their natural charm and timing with each other, instead of having to rely on cheap stereotypes. The funniest moments are when the troopers prank drivers they’ve pulled over. It seems the Vermont/French Canadian area has such little crime that officers kill time by messing with unsuspecting citizens. The most memorable scene of Super Troopers was when two patrolmen challenged each other to interview a driver while saying “meow” as often as they could. This time, the best scene has them pulling over English speaking drivers and trying to have a full conversation in French despite the fact they have no idea how to speak it.
We have to give a hand to Kevin Heffernan’s performance as Farva. Just as he did in the original, Heffernan plays the obnoxious Farva with no sense of hesitation. The character is a gum chewing, gun toting, jingoistic Neanderthal who lives in a world of his own construction (or destruction). There’s no sense of self-awareness in anything that does. He’s a loud-mouthed clown, but at least he embraces it. Most times, characters like these are hard to buy into, but Heffernan is so committed to everything he does – like forcing a Canadian crowd to recite the Pledge of Allegiance – that it kind of wins us over. He belongs in the same ballpark as Cartman from South Park. He may be an idiot, but at least he’s our idiot.
The audience Super Troopers 2 will attract will most likely be fans of the original film. It lacks a solid story and some of the jokes barely register a chuckle, but the chemistry of the Broken Lizard crew has not dissipated in the years since they introduced us to this crew of misfits. Like them or hate them – they are what they are and aren’t interested in being anything else.