by Tyler Jennes
It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been more than 16 years since the twisted minds of the comedy troupe, Broken Lizard, made the first Super Troopers. This is a film that has gone down as one of the definite cult-classics of the 2000s era; one that has achieved a large audience appeal despite overwhelmingly negative critical reception. Super Troopers, like every other Broken Lizard property, was never made with the intention of redefining the comedy film, but rather, a canvas upon which its off-kilter and bizzare characters draw on. A sequel to this film was not on the forefront of any studio executive’s mind. Thus, the Broken Lizard crew took to Kickstarter to fund the film, getting nearly five million in total donations from its 54,609 backers. After three years of anticipation, the project is now available in theaters worldwide, and, I must say that, in the recent wave of comedy sequels, Super Troopers 2 sits comfortably towards the top.
It’s almost as if there’s an unwritten rule that comedy sequels must be inherently disappointing. Zoolander 2, Anchorman 2, and Dumb and Dumber To were all films that left viewers thinking “why in the hell was this even made?” Films like 22 Jump Street and this one are proving to be an exception to this rule if anything. What made both of them work is a recognizable amount of effort put into not simply making them a retread of the original.
Upon hearing news of the film, my main concern was that it’s story would be dragged down by incessant callbacks and fan-service. With this in mind, while the film isn’t entirely guilt-free of this, I was pleasantly surprised by how the film used its callbacks to tell entirely new jokes. Due to the fact that the film takes our heroes to the mysterious domain of Canada, the story has full reign to twist the world of Super Troopers into a Great Northern lens. One of my favorite gags in the film is when the troopers walk into a restaurant, followed by Farva (Kevin Heffernan) proclaiming that it was no Shenanigans (the oft-mentioned restaurant in the first film), after which the waiter welcomes them to the establishment, Chicaneries. I’m not proclaiming any of this as deeply high-bow satire of North American society, but this barrage of Canada puns would be enough to make even the most stone-faced Mountie blush.
Speaking of Farva, I was surprised to find that his character is even more delightfully hateable in this film. In the original, Farva was something of an antagonistic force, meaning that he combated with the other troopers throughout the story. Here, however, he is firmly on the heroes’ side. Thus, he is now defined as the wild card of the group. His uber-patriotic self is in perfect juxtaposition with his foreign surroundings and every scene he’s involved in is nothing short of a joy to witness.
In terms of newcomers, Rob Lowe’s performance as a chipper Canuck major is a welcome addition to the film, providing viewers with something of a bizarro-Chris Traeger in terms of character. He, along with the three Mounties (Will Sasso in particular), are absurdly goofy characters that in any other film would simply not work. With the heightened reality that this film revels in, these characters fit like a moose-fur glove.
In conclusion, I fully expect this film to be torn to shreds by most publications. With Broken Lizard, it’s almost a rite of passage to have their films create a divide between critics and audiences. So, if you happen to be a fan of Super Troopers, or just want to have a good time for 100 minutes, this is the film to see. Though this undoubtedly won’t be hailed as the next milestone in entertainment, it was a damn funny film that can be enjoyed by both die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
3.5 out of 5 stars