Both Super Troopers and its sequel, Super Troopers 2, have an impeccable (and unfortunate) knack for bad timing — that is, when it comes to their releases. Broken Lizard’s original shenanigans-filled raunchy comedy came out on February 15th, 2002, a little over a year after its premiere at Sundance 2001. In that year-long span, everything changed. 9/11 made America respect its police officers, through all their perceived selfless actions, and the notion of laughing at — and even with — law enforcement officers goofing around on taxpayers dollars was seen as not only dishonest but disrespectful. People were outraged and completely unwilling to accept Super Troopers on its own terms. As a result, it took the R-rated comedy’s eventual VHS release for the film to only be seen, but to become a sizable hit — or, rather, a hit by any measure. Of course, it also inspired a few bong hits as well. But you get what I’m getting at here.
Sure enough, it became a cult classic, and its second life is well-earned. For all its lowbrow ambitions, Super Troopers remains a solid, surprisingly insightful raunchy comedy. A genuinely funny, unexpectedly heartfelt buddy ensemble romp, Super Troopers is not only an enjoyable, lighthearted romp but it’s also an intriguingly insightful slice of American social commentary. Indeed, director/co-writer/star Jay Chandrasekhar provides an intriguingly astute observation on the loss of innocence and masculine silliness in a world driven by fear, corruption, greed, depravity and financial insecurity. It’s, in some ways, one of the most telling insights into the transition between the goofiness of the ’90s and the seriousness of the ’00s — that is, if you look at it that way. It was funny, and it’s still funny. Now, the question is: does the sequel make us laugh too?
Your mileage will certainly vary on Broken Lizard’s gleefully mustachioed return to their most iconic characters, but if you liked the shenanigans of the first Super Troopers, you’ll probably enjoy the shenanigans in Super Troopers 2 too.
Like most comedy sequels, it is hit-and-miss with its humor, and it does have a poor habit of recycling jokes from the previous film. Through the inspired, impassioned and invigorated comedic dedication brought by this reunited comedy trope, however, Super Troopers 2 remains a consistently enjoyable and surprisingly adept sequel, even if it is at least ten years too late — one that doesn’t have as much on its mind but still a lean, good-natured piece of entertainment that’ll not only keep you amused but make you forget about the horrors happening in the outside world for 100 minutes. That’s really impressive given how Super Troopers 2 is centered around the goofs of negligent law enforcement officers. If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ll know it’s not easy to make us laugh at the misuse of power by law enforcement. Yet, they succeed.
The boys are back. Former state troopers Thorny (Chandrasekhar), Foster (Paul Soter), Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske) and, of course, Farva (Kevin Heffernan) were let go from the Spurbury Police Department after a misfortunate incident with Fred Savage under their watch. But they’re given one last chance to serve and protect the community (if they can, of course) when their former boss, Captain O’Hagen (the great Brian Cox), gathers them all together in Canada for an exciting new line of work.
As it is explained to them by Vermont Governor Jessman (Lynda Carter, returning again for another cameo), a recent land survey discovered part of the True North’s borders actually belongs to the Red, White, and Blue, and Canada has agreed to hand it over. The newly Americanized land needs state troopers, and Governor Jessman decided these former men in uniform were the ones for the job. But they’re not exactly Super Troopers yet, though. They’ll need to take part in a two-week trial period to determine if they’re actually truly fit for the job. If they succeed, they are full-time troopers again.
From there, our group of goofs embark in a great deal of lollygagging in their new land, where they don’t exactly win the trust of the formerly Canadian citizens. In particular, the newly reappointed troopers earn the distrust of three Canadian Mounties: Bellefeuille (Tyler Labine), Archambault (Will Sasso) and Podien (Angie Tribeca‘s Hayes MacArthur). It’s a war between Troopers and Mounties, and neither side plays it nicely. But it’s not all bad, as the troopers do earn the admiration of Mayor Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe) and his gorgeous cultural attache Genevieve Aubois (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who ushers the Americans into their Canadian ways and makes Rabbit smitten in particular. But there’s a crime happening in these parts. Through their not-entirely-sleuth detective work, the troopers unwittingly discover something’s amiss in these tranquil mountains.
Of course, the plot is merely an excuse to round up the boys again and have a good bit of fun in their new environment. Unlike many other comedy sequels, however, Super Troopers 2 doesn’t feel forced or belabored. Instead, this Broken Lizard vehicle is clearly a labor of love, created over the course of four-plus years thanks to a highly successful Indiegogo campaign. The chemistry between these gentlemen is stronger and more palpable than ever, even compared to the first, and you can feel their excitement to be working with one another again. Super Troopers 2 is the first Broken Lizard movie since 2009’s largely-forgotten The Slammin’ Salmon (the only one not directed by Chandrasekhar). It has taken them nearly a decade to come back to the big screen, and they don’t waste the opportunity. While the plot is more flimsy and haphazard than it was the first time (and it wasn’t like the first Super Troopers was remembered for its plot either), the actual comedy itself is blooming with spirit and rambunctious silliness.
One reason why Super Troopers 2 remains so consistently enjoyable is that it keeps the jokes flowing throughout. Having sat on this project for a decade and a half, it’s evident that Broken Lizard has jokes out the wazoo for these irreverent characters. If anything, there are perhaps too many comedic ideas stuffed in this sequel. It lacks the casual flow of the first movie, as it is constantly bombarding you with its humor. But for all its lackluster gags, there’s another that tickles your fancy around the corner. It makes for an uneven but ultimately amusing return for this wild bunch of law-bending buffoons.
Super Troopers 2 is not without its unfortunate flaws. Gay panic jokes are sprinkled inside —unlike the first one, from what I can recall — and its need to call back to the first movie is typically more tiresome than amusing — though it should be stressed that it’s not nearly as irksome as it is (or suggested to be) by the trailers. Is it inferior to the first movie? Naturally. But that doesn’t make it unredeemable. Super Troopers 2 is a rocky but amusing success that doesn’t live up to the legacy that is the original movie. But if you approach with the right attitude and good stride, you’ll walk away with a smile on your face. Especially if you have a couple beers and make a smoke or two too.