UK Release Date: 15th June 2018
Runtime: 99 minutes
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Writer: Broken Lizard
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Erik Stolhanske, Paul Soter, Steve Lemme, Brian Cox, Rob Lowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui
Synopsis: The disgraced highway cops of the first movie are given their jobs back in order to police a section of Canada that is being given back to the United States after a border cock-up.
Cards on the table: I’ve never seen the original Super Troopers film. I was seven years old when it came out – sorry – and early noughties stoner comedies haven’t exactly been my priority for catch-up material. With that said, I was able to go into belated sequel Super Troopers 2 with very little baggage. The movie was the first I had heard of comedy troupe Broken Lizard and I was unmoved by the lengthy crowdfunding campaign, so I had no affection for the characters or the story. With that said, the adage that ignorance is bliss has never been truer.
Super Troopers 2 is an exhausting and intolerable experience. It’s like being sat a table in the pub very close to a group of university friends having a very noisy reunion and going over decade-old inside jokes at an exhausting and unavoidable volume. For all I know, this is hugely endearing and entertaining to fans of the first movie, but it’s utterly impenetrable to a newbie viewer – of which there will presumably be many given the fact the film is getting a major multiplex release in a relatively quiet week for new movies.
Things start off fairly promisingly, with an amusing dream sequence skit involving Seann William Scott and Damon Wayans Jr that culminates in a nice meta-gag. Unfortunately, we’re then reintroduced to the Vermont highway cops, sacked after a mysterious event involving The Wonder Years actor Fred Savage. They get a call from their boss (Brian Cox) telling them they are being hired to police an area of Canada, presided over by Rob Lowe‘s campy mayor, that is actually set to become part of America again as a result of a longstanding border cock-up. They butt heads with the local Mounties and hijinks ensue, that were presumably intended to be comedic.
It isn’t funny. It’s not even close to funny. There are supposed jokes that aren’t even obviously constructed in an attempt to be funny. This is a film that’s built around a sense of humour that died out way before the American Pie franchise started going direct-to-DVD. Even the relatively amusing opening sequence is punctuated with nut shots and gay panic humour that went out of date years ago. This is all focused around Farva (Kevin Heffernan) – an obviously loathsome character who is constantly called out by others, but is still given a disproportionate amount of screen time and gag lines. The characters might hate Farva, but the filmmakers think he’s hilarious.
The other thing the Broken Lizard guys think is hilarious is poorly staged improvisation opportunities. I gather that much of the first movie was framed around these traffic stop sequences, but the way they are deployed this time around is never amusing. Everything about them feels constructed and there isn’t even a shred of comedy in them, beyond perhaps a chuckle of recognition for those who might recognise a reprised sequence from the previous film. In the absence of a solid script, every punchline is simply yelled increasingly loudly and more explicitly until they feel the point has been made.
And that’s exhausting to watch. Solo: A Star Wars Story was a competent movie that nobody asked for, but Super Troopers 2 commits a worse crime – loads of people wanted it, but the creators had no idea how to make it. The result is an amusing enough idea for a story, but one that is never infused with any jokes that weren’t directed at Cobie Smulders during the run of How I Met Your Mother. “Canadians are all aboot being polite, eh? Why aren’t you laughing?”
Pop or Poop?
Presumably displeasing fans as much as it displeased me as a new viewer, Super Troopers 2 is a terrible and consistently unfunny film that never comes close to making a decent gag. Its humour is old-fashioned and obnoxious, without the story or charm to even make it moderately pleasant.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.