So: this doesn’t suck.
That’s the problem with comedy sequels, right? A studio creates this amazing lightning-in-a-bottle comedy hit, and it frustratingly can’t be replicated, or else is sort-of replicated but ends up leading to a string of inferior sequels that ruin your enjoyment of the first. Airplane!: The Sequel just recycled the jokes from the original; Anchorman 2 just alienated everybody who loved the first; and nobody remembers Wayne’s World 2. And then franchise comedies like National Lampoon’s Vacation and Beverly Hills Cop just ran the concept into the ground.
Super Troopers 2, thankfully, doesn’t do that. The comedy troupe of Broken Lizard apparently decided to really take their time on this one–amazingly, sixteen years–but the end product is passable enough. The original hit just the right set of notes to become a cult classic–not enough to become a summer blockbuster, but good enough to become a recurring rerun on cable movie stations. That doesn’t seem very likely, since a bunch of Vermont state police who abuse their power to harass ordinary citizens doesn’t exactly have broad appeal. But it worked. Chances are, you or a buddy have probably said “Meow” or “Shenanigans” or “Mother of God” and know what these refer to.
Super Troopers 2 manages to reunite the entire prior cast (Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, and Kevin Heffernan) in a just-plausible enough plotline. Turns out that a stretch of Canada along the U.S. border is actually American territory, and the former Vermont Highway Patrol members are called back into action by the governor (Lynda Carter) to monitor the peaceful transition of a Quebequois village into a new U.S. territory.
Understandably, this puts the American-bred troopers in the Make-America-Great-Again era at odds with a bunch of French-Canadians who really don’t want to lose their identities, along with their reluctant partners, a trio of Mounties, and an ex-hockey player mayor who runs a bisexual brothel. The troopers are out of their element with a town in revolt, and they discover an operation to smuggle drugs and weapons into the U.S. What’s the team to do about this? One word: antics.
Super Troopers 2 succeeds, or at least doesn’t fail, by keeping the jokes original and not heavily reusing what worked in the last movie. The Canada-versus-America stuff is ripe territory for a gentle ribbing, and in fairness, it wavers between pointing out that Canada is backwards for not having gained independence until 1982, and pointing out that America has an obesity epidemic with no nationalized healthcare. Canada might make an easy, loveable target, but at least the humor is restricted to the Quebec side of things. As somebody who’s married to a Canadian, I’m comfortable in saying that both sides of the border should enjoy this.
If Super Troopers 2 does anything wrong, it’s that the trademark antics do go a little overboard. Heffernan’s love-to-hate Farva is an even more exaggerated ass than before. The original film had him as an out-of-place guy who was trying too hard; the sequel turns him into a straight up self-promoting jock. Chandrasekhar’s Ramathorn, meanwhile, takes something of a backseat to his prior role as the leading funny man. He’s still a heavy presence, but now he’s dominated by a running gag about his addiction to Canadian female sex hormones. The results are funny, but he’s definitely not the same character he played in the first movie.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of the original cult comedy classic, Super Troopers 2 is a worthy follow-on. I don’t think it’ll hit the permanent legacy of the first one, but it’s at least a decent pre-summer distraction movie.
Rating: Four Shenanigans Out of Five