Sixteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel you’re not sure you wanted in the first place. But in the years since Jay Chandrasekhar’s Super Troopers (2002) reaped surprising profits at the box office, the prankster-policemen comedy has remained popular on small screens, presumably with its most avid repeat viewers smoking things that prevented them from remembering its gags from one viewing to the next. Arriving in theaters on (wait for it) 4/20, Super Troopers 2 is roughly what those fans are waiting for: a loose, goofy string of antics featuring the Broken Lizard comic troupe and a surprisingly still-game Brian Cox. Though less funny than the first, it will play well to those who are in the mood.
Not long ago, our chucklehead gang of Vermont state troopers lost their jobs (blame Fred Savage) and started working on a construction crew. But when historians discover that Vermont’s northern border has been drawn incorrectly, and that a swath of Quebec is actually American soil, Vermont’s governor (Lynda Carter) needs some unconventional cops to patrol the in-flux territory. (Just go with us here.) She sets the five patrolmen and their long-suffering chief (Cox) up in a log-cabin HQ and asks them to keep the peace until the Canada-U.S. switchover is complete.
Should please die-hard fans without attracting new ones.
Turns out Canadians aren’t as easygoing as they’re reputed to be. Though the nearest town’s mayor, Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe), extends a friendly hand, the French-speaking locals have no interest in becoming Americans; insults fly freely, as do fists. The antagonism is most extreme with a trio of Mounties (Tyler Labine, Will Sasso and Hayes MacArthur), who are in no hurry to let go of their jobs. A prank war starts between the two groups of lawmen, which will eventually lead to the Yanks impersonating Mounties, trying to give them a bad reputation by pulling the same dumb stunts that got them laughs back in the first film.
As in the first pic, there’s a smuggling operation for the boys to bust: guns, knockoff iPhones and bags upon bags of pills. Each of the cops tries a different drug when they discover the stash — how else will we know what we’ve found? — and Chandrasekhar’s Thorny winds up addicted to a women’s libido booster called Flova Scotia. Meanwhile, Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), still being hazed as the team’s rookie all these years later, is trying to woo a cultural attache (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who’s seemingly the only sane person onscreen.
Chriqui may have been born in Quebec, but she’s as enthusiastic as her co-stars in yukking up the French-Canadian accent. The movie employs all the usual Canuck stereotypes and then invents some new ones — stretching Canada’s laws regarding sex workers to imagine a scenario in which a town’s mayor might run a fully legal bordello catering to both men and women. (This scenario gives Lowe a chance to punch around an actor’s prosthetic penis as if it were a cute little boxing speed bag.)
Individual personalities in the Broken Lizard troupe aren’t as memorably distinct as those in, say, Kids in the Hall or Monty Python. Though they have an affable doofus chemistry together, no one really stands out. The by-design exception is Kevin Heffernan, whose character Farva is an overweight boor nobody can stand. It’s hard to say why the troopers would allow Farva to stick around for nigh on two decades, but for the film, he’s an asset.
Overall, the sequel has less absurdist spark than the original; when Cox’s Captain O’Hagan declares that this time his cops will do everything by the book, he might have been speaking to the filmmakers as well. Still, when streaming on video in a room full of smoke, Super Troopers 2 should suffice.
Production companies: Broken Lizard Industries, Cataland Films
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Cast: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Lowe, Brian Cox, Lynda Carter, Tyler Labine, Will Sasso, Hayes MacArthur
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Screenwriters: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske
Producer: Richard Perello
Executive producers: Justin Begnaud, David Gendron, Michael Hansen
Director of photography: Joe Collins
Production designer: Cabot McMullen
Costume designer: Debra McGuire
Editor: Spencer Houck
Composer: Eagles of Death Metal
Casting directors: Venus Kanani, Mary Vernieu
Rated R, 99 minutes