Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Starring Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Jay Chandrasekhar, Rob Lowe
In our age of reboots and nostalgia gazing, the world apparently needed a sequel to the 2001 comedy Super Troopers (a sequel whose crowd-funding exceeded expectations). The original was a surprise sleeper hit, becoming a cult comedy that emerged from nowhere – now, 17 years and a couple of failed attempts to make another hit comedy later, the Broken Lizard comedy troupe that wrote, directed, and starred in the original are back.
It isn’t an entirely unwelcome return, since the bawdy, boisterous comedy of Super Troopers that was so common of the comedy films in its era (along with American Pie, Road Trip, et al) is back in 2018 as if it never went away. Yet along with all this somehow charming gross-out in-your-face comedy, there’s also the likes of people getting kicked in the nuts and animals being murdered – not that there’s anything wrong with that (in a comedy film), but it still feels like there’s a joke missing.
Super Troopers 2 finds the formerly fired highway patrol-men now being sent north to Canada to prepare as the Vermont-Quebec border gets extended so that a small Canadian town is to become a small United States town. Naturally, the super troopers go up against their Canadian counter-parts, who are just as silly and antagonistic as them, just in a more… Canadian way. This obviously breeds plenty of USA versus Canada jokes, only a few of which go beyond mere “Canadians are overly-polite” or “Americans are obese” gags.
With a story made just for endless jokes, this sequel just doesn’t quite fill itself with enough humour. Most of the dialogue-based jokes seem to fall flat as if the film isn’t aiming for more than a chuckle, and the visual gags (involving indoor bears and shaving cream on a man’s genitals) are trying to make the viewers laugh just by their mere presence, but they need to be far more hardcore and grossly creative to achieve that. There is at least a sequence involving the super troopers donning the Canadian police attire and bumbling their way through broken Québécois to perplexed pulled-over drives, which is the film at its funniest and where it captures the original’s spirit the most.
Although Super Troopers 2 thankfully doesn’t spend too much time resuscitating its old jokes in a wink-nudge manner (with only very mild call-backs to ‘meow’ and shenanigans), there is still the feeling of a missed opportunity with so many years between the original and sequel. Trainspotting 2 was one of the better sequels to observe how the characters had moved throughout generations of time. It’s surprising to see that the Broken Lizard gang are now in their 50s, as their characters act as if they’re still 30. There’s a lively youthfulness in their come-back, though it’s still missing a sense of progression in their lives and, perhaps mostly importantly, it’s simply missing the timeless jokes.