If there is one thing we have learned from films like Zoolander 2 and Anchorman 2, it is that maybe going back to do a sequel to a beloved comedy hit a decade and a half later isn’t really such a good idea. So, it was with the feeling of “Twice bit, three times shy” that we approach Super Troopers 2, a sequel to the cult comedy released seventeen years ago. With it being nine years since Broken Lizard – the comedy troupe responsible for the film – last graced the big screen with their waiter comedy The Slammin’ Salmon, it is more than reasonable to be wary that this could easily be a case of too little laughs, far too late.
Not to worry though, as while Super Troopers 2 may not hit quite the comedic high notes that the original did, it comes darn close.
Super Troopers 2 wastes no time in getting the band back together, updating us on what everyone has been up to since we last saw them. (An incident involving real life actor Fred Savage is hinted at as the reason they are no longer in uniform.) They are re-issued their old badges when it is learned that a town on the north side of the Vermont/Canadian border actually is part of the United States after all and someone needs to go up and phase out the current local Mountie force in favor of Vermont state troopers.
This shaggy dog set up is nothing more than excuse for the five members of Broken Lizard to run rampant, causing havoc and pulling pranks on one another and unsuspecting motorists. Sure, there is a plot line about a smuggling operation that the gang stumbles upon, but the movie doesn’t seemed too concerned with it until it realizes that it’s fifteen minutes from the end of its run time and it needs to wrap things up. Even then, there still is one unresolved issue from that plot thread which the film goes to great pains to have a character point out. A set up for Super Troopers 3, perhaps?
Perhaps the secret to the film’s success lies in the fact that the film’s titular goofballs are just that – goofballs. They aren’t high concept comedy characters like Ben Stiller’s vacuous male model Derek Zoolander or Will Farrell’s dim-witted and vain newsman Ron Burgundy. These are ordinary guys who like to goof around while at work, but when it comes time to do some actual police work they turn out to be marginally competent. They’re fun guys you’d want to hang out with and that’s what makes revisiting them over a decade and a half later a long overdue treat.
Nor do they try and reinvent the wheel with this second film. Some favorite jokes from the first film get specific call backs, but with new twists. Structurally it echoes the first film in many ways. There’s a sequence that recalls the first film’s drunken night out with the captain while once again the crime they are investigating is smuggling. The script also has fun with playing with the usual Canadian stereotype of a country full of overly polite hockey fans, flipping it on its head. There are even a few meta-jokes targeted strictly at die hard fans of the first film.
Are things just as silly and, dare I say, immature as the last film? Sure, and that’s not a bad thing. The group knows what the fans want and deliver a fun helping of it. If you enjoyed the first film, you will probably want to head out for the sequel right meow.