SUPER TROOPERS 2. Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Rob Lowe, Brian Cox. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. 99 minutes. Rated MA15+ (Strong crude sexual humour, nudity and coarse language).
A crowd-funded sequel to the 2001 cult comedy ‘Super Troopers’, your enjoyment of ‘Super Troopers 2’ will vary widely, tied to your maturity and sense of humour. If you think that people getting beaten around the head or crotch is the pinnacle of comedy, or you consider yourself a teenage boy at heart, then this might be the movie for you. If you’re looking for a comedy that’s consistently funny or is doing something interesting with its performances or craft, then perhaps look elsewhere. In short, fans of the first movie, or the Broken Lizard comedy group responsible for making it, will consider their own funding of the sequel to be money well spent, while others won’t find it super at all.
After an international border dispute is resolved, Vermont Governor Jessman (Lynda Carter) asks State Trooper Captain O'Hagen (Brian Cox) to help transition a French-Canadian town to its rightful American governance. Who better to man O’Hagen’s mission than the state troopers whom he led in the first film? He rounds up his men in their newly assigned post of St. Georges du Laurent; there’s his 2IC Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar, pulling triple duties as director), calm Foster (Paul Soter), cheeky Mac (Steve Lemme), rookie Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), and grossly offensive Fava (Kevin Heffernan). With these troopers tasked with ensuring a smooth handover from the local Canadian Mounties, there’s likely to be a diplomatic disaster or several.
Not only do the troopers have to deal with hostile Mounties Bellefuille (Tyler Labine), Archambault (Will Sasso) and Podien (Hayes MacArthur), there’s also the townsfolk, who shed their stereotypical Canadian politeness when they’re told that they must become American citizens. Liaising with the town’s mayor and bordello owner, Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe), and beautiful cultural attaché, Genevieve (Emmanuelle Chriqui), the troopers have their work cut out for them if they want to keep their jobs. Another spanner is thrown into the works when they start uncovering stashes of guns and drugs hidden around the town. Although the mystery shouldn’t take audiences long to crack, the men resolve that unravelling this case is the perfect way to bring the angry locals around.
If there’s a superficial message to be gleaned from the story, it’s that America is the great liberator, I guess. With its writing credit given to Broken Lizard, the group comprising Chandrasekhar, Heffernan, Lemme, Soter and Stolhanske, ‘Super Troopers 2’ does not reflect the 17 years separating it from the first instalment. There doesn’t appear to have been much in the way of development, neither in terms of the characters nor their style of comedy. Heffernan’s Fava probably remains the standout of the group, though only because his insane man-child’s antics are so improbable that one lands a laugh every so often, though even his vulgarity feels a little tired and lame. None of the core cast, except perhaps a gleefully irascible Brian Cox, produces anything remotely resembling a real person, plus your tolerance for awful French accents will be sorely tested. Behind the camera, Chandrasekhar doesn’t augment any of the scarce laughs with his directorial choices; things just happen in front of the lens.
There are some bright spots among the group’s efforts. A montage of the troopers attempting to destroy the reputations of the Mounties is very funny, extending upon the funniest material in the first film, in which the men toy with drivers they’ve pulled over. There’s another gag that lands well, in which the men try to discover what unmarked drugs they’ve found in the stashes, by each ingesting a different pill and observing their respective responses. Notwithstanding, there will be viewers who disagree with every criticism I’ve levelled at the film – indeed, a young gentleman in front of me left the theatre loudly proclaiming, “That’s gold!”
In short, I propose the following general rule: if you haven’t seen and enjoyed ‘Super Troopers’, certainly don’t bother with the sequel.
Callum Ryan is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out April 19.
20th Century Fox.