From the Archives: Super Troopers 2 review

From the Archives: Super Troopers 2 review

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.

Originally posted on Cinema76.

Nothing makes my back hurt more or inclines me to kick children off my lawn than to know that Super Troopers, the breakout indie comedy from Broken Lizard, came out SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO. That’s one year more than what passed between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace. Babies born when Super Troopers came out are now old enough to drive. I will be 34 this year, which means the Super Troopers came out HALF OF MY LIFE AGO. And like every beloved property from the first half of my life, the powers that be have decided to resurrect it for a second round. 

But unlike the vast majority of rebooted properties, Super Troopers 2 was not studio funded. Instead, the movie was made with money from a massively successful kickstarter campaign in which the 2 million dollar goal was surpassed in a single day. So there is no question that the audience for the film exists. There remains the question, however, of whether or not a long delayed sequel to a cult hit would (or even could) be any good. 

Well it pleases me greatly to say that yes, yes it absolutely can be good . And it is. 

Set about, oh, I dunno, seventeen years after the original, we find our lovable gang of mischievous cops living civilian life after their unit was terminated due to a tragic ridealong incident involving Fred Savage. Mac, Foster, and Rabbit are all working construction under the cruel command of Farva, while Thorny has taken to the life of an outdoorsman. They’re all getting by just fine, but every one of them misses their work as highway patrolmen. Being a cop is not a job, it’s a calling.

Naturally, all of them jump at the chance to return to the fuzz when a strange opportunity falls into their laps. You see, there’s a small area of Canada which, due to shoddy border markers, is actually American territory. As such, a team of police officers are required to help smooth the locals’ transitions from Canuck to Yank; to change the speed limit signs from metric to American standard; to let the locals know that even though the town will soon be officially American, it will still be perfectly acceptable to speak French and listen to Rush. The local force of Canadian Mounties aren’t keen to the new guys in town, and what follows is essentially a 90 minute prank war with a smuggling plot thrown in to keep things moving forward. 

It’s a pretty dumb setup, but much like the previous film, the plot really doesn’t matter. The plot is just an excuse to string together moments of inspired shtick from a supremely talented troupe of comedians. Anyone who follows the work of Broken Lizard knows that the situations these players find themselves in are almost entirely irrelevant — these guys are just really good at bouncing off of one another. Be it a scripted moment or a sublime piece of improv, the rapport they share is on par with the likes of Monty Python or The Kids in the Hall. And god bless Brian Cox, now in his seventies, for continuing to keep up with them. 

While most comedy sequels find themselves slavishly devoted to callbacks and references to the brand, Super Troopers 2 only sparingly invokes its predecessor, and when it does, it’s always a much gentler, more thought out piece of comedy than just simple parroting of an old bit (the way that the “meow” gag is updated surprised me with its cleverness — and given the usage of the metric system in Canada, Farva can finally get his liter of cola). 

Fans will remember the promise at the end of Beerfest that the gang would soon return in Potfest. Well, this didn’t happen*, but it’s very clear that the crew brought many of their Potfest ideas to Troopers. Moreso than the first film, this is a stoner comedy (being released on 4/20, no less), which shows that Broken Lizard is familiar with the first rule of comedy: know your audience. 

Granted, the cynicism that comedy sequels are met with almost by default could certainly color the reception to the film, as could the fact that the style of crass humor on display has largely fallen out of favor in recent years, but fans of the original should find no issues falling into step with this brand once again. I went in with metered expectations that were greatly exceeded. Sure, it’s not a necessary sequel, but few are. At the end of the day, it was really good to hang out with this cast of characters again. Especially Farva. I didn’t realize how much I missed that unbearable idiot. 

2018 has already been a pretty excellent year for comedies with BlockersGame Night, and The Death of Stalin. Add Super Troopers 2 to the list. Right meow. 

Super Troopers 2 opens in Philly theaters today. Smoke ’em if you got ’em (before you get to the theater).

*Per Wikipedia, it looks like Potfest may actually see the light of day! It’s now going to be called Smokefest and Willie Nelson, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, and Snoop Dogg have all agreed to appear. The last update I can find was in 2014, so this may all still go, ahem, up in smoke. 

Leave a Reply