When the first Super Troopers film was released in early 2002, I didn’t know any better. I was just a dumb college kid, squarely in the target demographic for a stoner raunch-com lampooning the police and unsophisticated enough that, only in my first year of Film Studies courses, I mistook it as a deeply significant satire. It’s been years since I’ve seen the original — though I doubt it’s aged well — but I can say definitively that Super Troopers 2 is something more than a pointless retread. Pointless? Yes. Retread? Well, not exactly…
While the prior film felt like a breath of fresh air redolent of the irascible comedic originality of, say, the early National Lampoon films, the ensuing years would see the comedy troupe Broken Lizard field flop after flop, raising the legitimate question of whether or not the writers and performers responsible for Super Troopers might be a one-hit-wonder. Director Jay Chandrasekhar has fared little better solo, helming the regrettable Dukes of Hazzard feature and a straight-tovideo Yogi Bear sequel before returning to the Super Troopers after three years fallow. It’s not exactly the most encouraging track record going into what would appear to be nothing more than a brazen cash grab after years of creative infertility.
But appearances can be deceiving, if not entirely so. Super Troopers 2 is not a great film, but it’s also not as derivative of its predecessor as I had feared. The jokes are largely original, if , although fewer land than the first time around, the pacing is a bit tedious and the premise is largely irrelevant. The sequel finds the crew of lackadaisical Vermont State Troopers from the first film drifting aimlessly through disparate wage-slave existences in the wake of what is known as “The Fred Savage Incident,” in which the band was fired for contributing to the actor’s death through their negligence. The call to adventure comes in the form of Lynda Carter, reprising her role from the first film as the Governor and reinstating the crew to police a recently annexed Canadian town. Hijinks ensue.
The film follows predictably from its uninspired setup, and many of the performances feel forced and amateurish even in the context of the same actors’ forced and amateurish performances of 16 years ago. Brian Cox seems to be the only pro in the bunch (true then as now), and his involvement keeps the film from dragging in some places where his influence is desperately needed. In this age of unchecked police brutality against civilians I had harbored the faintest hope that Super Troopers 2 might include some vague semblance of social satire, but this is nothing more than a broad farce with little on its mind beyond some poorly conceived jokes about Canadians —which is to say, if you like the first film, you’ll find this one at least tolerable. But maybe I’m taking this all too seriously — if the young woman inhaling nachos and laughing incessantly at things that were clearly not jokes was any indication, you might have to be high to appreciate this one. Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug material and some graphic nudity.
Now Playing at AMC Classic River Hills 10, Carolina Cinemark, Regal Biltmore Grande, Epic of Hendersonville.