Review: Fueled by Rehashed Jokes, ‘Super Troopers 2’ Stalls Out in the Middle of the Road

Super Troopers
Fox Searchlight

It took 16 years, but the boys from Broken Lizard have made good on their promise to make a sequel to their most popular picture. For a while Super Troopers 2 seemed like something of a running joke. After each subsequent film, the team behind Beerfest, Club Dread and The Slammin’ Salmon would tease that their next feature would be the long gestating project. Each time nothing came of it. Then, just as suddenly as everyone let their guard down, an indiegogo campaign for the movie popped up last year. Within 24 hours it had reached its goal and now it’s about to be released in theaters. One has to wonder why they didn’t take this route sooner. After seeing the movie though, the reason becomes readily apparent.

Super Troopers 2
© Fox Searchlight

Life hasn’t keen so kind to the merry band of goons in the wake of the last film. Sometime during their tenure as police officers, a celebrity ride-along went horribly wrong, costing them their badges. Mac (Steve Lemme) and Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske) both landed construction jobs, with Farva (Kevin Heffernan) as their superior. Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar) became a lumberjack and Foster (Paul Soter) is seemingly content riding in Ursala’s sidecar, since taking over as Chief of Police. They’ve all remained close and even gather for fishing trips with their former Captain (Brian Cox). On their latest outing he surprises them with a message from the Governor of Vermont. Turns out the state is reassessing border stones and a section of Canada is set to become part of the US. She needs small band of officers for a simple two week transition gig. Guess who fits the bill perfectly?

Just as quickly as the boys settle into their old routine, things start repeating themselves. Instead of veering off for uncharted territory, rehashes of the highest order are explored. In no time, not only have several caches of contraband been discoverd, but the local authorities also become their number one suspects. Sound familiar? Their foils in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police fair far better then the cops in the original film, by sheer virtue of being allowed to illicit laughs. That’s partially due to having their roles filled by Taylor Labine, Will Sasso and Hayes MacArthur. The stunt casting doesn’t stop there, as the Mayor is played by none other than Rob Lowe. The rest of the story ends up being a wash. While the original film wasn’t the most tightly wound piece of scripting, it at least didn’t suffer from a suddenly abrupt ending.

© Fox Searchlight

If you guessed the move to Canada would mean a litany of trite and tired jokes at that country’s expense, well you’d win a bottle of maple syrup and a case of Molson beer. Jokes about Hockey? Check (although one of them is good). Jokes about Canadians being nice? Check again. Jokes about saying “Eh” a lot? Check-o-rino. Jokes about Canadians mispronouncing “sorry”? Check as well. Actually double-check, because they  twist the joke so it can be about Americans too. Jokes about Tim Hortons? It’s like you aren’t even reading this. The list continues, but to do so here would beat it to death as much as the movie does. That just typifies the main issue here, though.  Laziness is the bane of Super Troopers 2 existence. Things aren’t bad because they have to be, merely because it’s the easiest route.

What can’t be shaken is the “Ghost of Comedy Sequels Past.” Numerous other properties have traveled the same road and wound up in the same situation, where rehashed jokes and story elements rule the day. There are a few new pieces of material that peek through the haze every so often, but they’re so fleeting that they almost feel like an accident. The strange thing is the Broken Lizard squad have proved they’re better than what’s on display here… several times over. It’s as if in the quest to recapture the magic of their former glory, they simply reverted back to the skills they possessed at the time. While stoner comedies don’t exactly require an advanced degree, it makes little sense why they would throw all caution to the wind this time. A few breaks in convention would have likely saved the film from itself.

Super Troopers 2
© Fox Searchlight

To be completely honest, a film like Super Troopers 2 is difficult to grade. Even by the most basic of barometers, it feels like a disappointment. It also stands as the epitome of a film where you have to be in the right state of mind to like it. That’s to say there’s a built-in audience who will adore the antics it has to offer. From the returning characters to the classic (rehashed) jokes, they’ll be smitten by what they see. Others might chuckle, but will mostly be left wanting. While not likely to go down as the worst comedy sequel ever, as that title belongs to Caddyshack 2, it doesn’t have much to contribute positively to the genre either. The worst fate for something like Super Troopers 2 is that it simply gets forgotten. Actually, that may be a mercy for everyone involved.

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