With Roseanne back on the air after 20 years, and shows and films like Stranger Things, IT and Ready Player One relying so heavily on their nostalgia factor, it’s not too surprising that we got a second Super Troopers. 17 years ago, the Broken Lizard troupe came out of nowhere, landing a deal with Fox Searchlight, grossing an unbelievable amount of money, and creating a cult hit in the process. Much of their charm feels reminiscent to that of Monty Python’s. But just as a second Holy Grail would impair the impact of the first, Super Troopers 2 has little worth laughing at other than a couple of retold jokes.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Super Troopers could have become this generation’s Police Academy. However, Jay Chandrasekhar and the rest of the Broken Lizard boys extinguished that fire when they abandoned these stoner policemen to make unforgettable movies like Beerfest and Club Dread. Because of this, it seemed like Super Troopers was never meant to be a franchise, and meow, we know why.
After an undisclosed incident involving Fred Savage, Thorny (Chandrasekhar), Foster (Paul Soter), Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske) and Rod (Kevin Heffernan) lost the local police jobs they had earned at the end of the first film. At the start of Troopers 2, though they all live humdrum lives, they’re still together in some way or another. But their luck seems to change when they visit a cabin right inside Canada where their former captain, John O’Hagan (Brian Cox), and the Vermont governor (Lynda Carter) await.
The governor tells them that while looking over the districting map between the US and Canadian border, a comparatively small piece of Canadian land was discovered that actually belongs to the United States. It will become an addition to Vermont, and she wants the Super Troopers out there as a temporary police force until the ink has dried. A trial period, at the end of which they could once again become full time cops.
Making sure that their sunglasses are stainless, and their moustaches are up to regulatory standards, the boys are back. This doesn’t make the civilians of the tiny French-Canadian-soon-to-be-American town very happy, though – right meow, it’s hard to blame them for not wanting to become Americans. The patrol’s reception, run by the town’s ceaselessly passive-aggressive mayor (Rob Lowe, who’s having fun), ends with a screaming match/food fight as Rod shrilly recites the pledge of allegiance.
While the Americanization roughly commences, the Highway Patrol team still seems up to their old tricks, showing no signs of maturation as they squabble with the local Mounties, and pester harmless drivers. Then, coincidently (not to mention lazily), they stumble onto a drug smuggling operation, unleashing their “peculiar” brand of police work.
Most of the jokes added to this routine are at the expense of our northern neighbors with their infuriating politeness, and outrageous accents (a flirtatious Emmanuelle Chriqui personifies both of these characteristics). And as for us, the rebellious Canadians are quick to mention our record-breaking obesity rates, our stubborn persistence against the metric system, and our blindly imperialistic society. Ok, that’s fair.
Physical comedy is also prominent here. The Mounties act like the northern version of the Three Stooges, but amidst the chaos of bombarding jokes, the frantic nature of this movie takes away from the buddy charm the 2001 cult hit had. One moment, Rabbit is getting tied up for a genital shave, and the next, a bear is in the station house. It seems as if these guys thought that the nostalgia we would feel seeing these characters up on the big screen again would excuse the more sketch-like and less plot-oriented makeup of the movie.
But the members of Broken Lizard made it clear that they didn’t plan on Super Troopers 2 being a “greatest hit” compilation – that doesn’t absolve the film from reverting back to a “meow” joke here and there – but the invent of this movie itself is fan service. Our money paid for this sequel, and we got it. That’s the thing about cult films, some people are probably very happy to see these guys up on the marquee again. But a chunk of change and a list of lazy jabs at tropes does not and should not constitute a franchise revival.