'Super Troopers 2'
I broke a couple of my rules when I screened ‘Super Troopers 2’. Normally for a sequel, I’d hunt down the original so that I wouldn’t miss any of the callbacks or subtlety of character development. Instead, I figured with this one that the best tack would be one of surprise, just to see what would plop on my lap as the narrative unfolded.
I quickly learned that this is a cop story, of sorts, apparently about a motley crew of bumbling bros stationed in the state of Vermont. We meet them as members of a band riding a smoke-filled bus, when Damon Wayans, Jr. and Seann William Scott pull them over for a traffic infraction. As someone who unabashedly adores ‘Goon’, I was pleased to see Seann there, extra “n” and all, and figured this would bode well.
Unfortunately, following a mildly homophobic bit of nonsense, we learn that was all a dream sequence, and instead we’re left to hang out with the Broken Lizard comedy troupe as they toy with comedy cop flick tropes.
My mind wandered as the storyline about a border extension involving Canada and the U.S. unfolded. As someone old enough to have fully embraced ‘Police Academy’ during its theatrical run, would the pre-adolescent in me find fun in the ribald rambunctiousness? Would I get a kick out of seeing Brain Cox cocking it up, or find that Lynda Carter showing up scratches an itch I couldn’t fully explain to my young self? Could metrical jokes about decalitres and Celsian temperatures make me think this a heady ‘Strange Brew’?
Impossible to say whether 10-year-old me would have adored the nonsense of it all as I liked some pretty shitty films back then. The sparse public audience that screened the movie along with me this afternoon did seemingly find more to it than I did – several of them chuckling at a penis being punched, a bear being bearish, or Rob Lowe saying “out” and “about” in that oh-so-droll Canadian way.
I wondered how an American audience would respond to the half-assed stereotypes at play, many having even less of a clue of the goings on to their north than the characters shown on screen. Up here, on the other hand, there’s a longstanding tradition, more than a bit masochistic, of liking our cousins in the south to make fun of us. At least it’s a form of attention.
I found out later that director Jay Chandrasekhar and his fellow Lizards used crowd-funding ($4m+ in “real” dollars) to help make the film. I hope that fans find the investment to their satisfaction. Personally, despite getting in for free, I’m not sure the price was worth it.
I admit a chuckle or two at some of the silliness, but other than that I received none of the pleasant surprises I had hoped for going in clean, hoping against hope that somehow I’d discover some hidden comedic gem, an acerbic and cerebral take on cross-border shenanigans. Rather than the ‘Super Troopers’ we want, we get one I guess we deserve – a half-assed attempt at social commentary wrapped up in a farce, complete with sitcom-level jokes and sketch comedy pratfalls. With their latest endeavor at high-concept stupidity, the Broken Lizards have laid an egg.