'Super Troopers 2' Film Review
by Will Lindus
I have a confession to make. Lean in closer, I don’t want to say this too loudly. Okay. *takes a deep breath* Despite my love of erudite films, movies requiring complex analysis, and films that showcase technical and artistic expertise, I unironically enjoy 2001’s Super Troopers. Whew! It… it feels good to get that off my chest. As a vehicle for the Broken Lizard comedy group, it showcases a group of very funny people riffing off of each other to deliver laugh after laugh, even if most of those laughs derive from off-color dick and fart jokes. But, hey… they are funny dick and fart jokes, and when it comes to comedies, there is no better litmus test than ‘did it make me laugh?’ Right?
Fast forward to 2018, years after the comedy troupe has moved on to other properties. Club Dread and Beerfest, while not critically acclaimed, proved that the team was willing to branch off into different directions with their comedy instead of relying on franchise for success, and director/writer/actor Jay Chandrasekhar has strengthened his craft and reputation by expanding into the world of episodic network television direction. I would have argued that no one really needed a Super Troopers 2, especially this many years removed from the original installment, but a wildly successful Indiegogo would prove me wrong on this front.
And I’m not quite sure how to review it.
You see, the film itself has problems. The premise itself is rather creative: what would happen if a tiny section of Canada suddenly fell under United States jurisdiction? And, suddenly, a group of inept state troopers is suddenly tasked with balancing a tense political situation, bringing United States law to a Canadian citizenry that wants nothing to do with their new country? With a smarter script, this kind of setup could showcase cultural differences and similarities between the two nations in novel ways or could make bold statements on immigration or on the state of current political situations. Super Troopers 2 isn’t really interested in any of these avenues, however. It merely uses its premise as an excuse to set up a narrative involving drug smuggling that no one, including the audience, the cast, or even the script, really cares about until the third act. The first act is filled with non sequiturs and shallow setup, the middle act is just rampant improv and shenanigans (pun intended) that aren’t connected to the plot at all, and the final act spends too much time trying to wrap up the story at the expense of any comedic momentum the earlier parts of the film might have put into motion.
But I laughed. Several times.
These are very clearly funny people who enjoy what they are doing, and the amount of fun they seem to be having with this material translates to the screen. It’s almost as though, by virtue of willpower and sincerity, they turn their shoddy script and half-assed dick and fart jokes into something that resembles good. The film especially finds its comedic footing when it opts to completely ignore its plot in the middle of the movie. The guys are followed through a few montages of pranks that really capture the essence of what they do best: juvenile comedy without consequence or without reason, and I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s when the film tries to be more than this that the cracks begin to show.
This isn’t a ‘good’ movie. There are scenes which have nothing to do with the film that only appear because they were stretch goals for the crowdfunding campaign, and that is almost always a red flag for me. Even Chandrasekhar’s direction feels limp here, showcasing very few of the talents he has accrued over the years. There are some twists and turns in the film that are obvious from a million miles away, and some of the guest stars - including Will Sasso, Tyler Labine, and the great Rob Lowe - feel out of place even as they nail their performances. The humor hasn't exactly aged well, with jokes that teeter on the edge (and often step over that line) into misogynistic, homophobic, and racist territory, humor that probably landed better 2001 than it does in 2018. But, again... when the jokes DO work, they work quite well, and part of it is because of just how crass these stupor troupers can truly be.
Bottom Line: How do you even wrap up a review on a film like Super Troopers 2? It’s less complete a piece that the first film, with crowdfunded sequences tacked on and jokes that feel like they would have worked better 17 years ago. As a film, it has serious issues that are hard to overlook. But I laughed, and I think general audiences might too, so I dunno; is this a 1 star film or a 4 star mindless comedy? Do star ratings even mean anything? Is it lazy that I’m just going to end this review by asking questions that I don’t intend to answer while giving the film an arbitrary 2.5 star rating?
2.5 out of 5 Bear Paws