Comedy sequels are a hard trick to pull off. Many don’t know where to draw the line between new material and recycling the hits that made their predecessor a success. So, when compared to other comedy sequels, Super Troopers 2 is a victory. However, when compared to the comic mastery of the original, it leaves a lot to be desired.
The film reunites our favorite former Vermont highway patrol officers: Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar), Mac (Steve Lemme), Farva (Kevin Heffernan), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske) and Foster (Paul Soter), 15 years after the events of the original film. The group has been fired from the Spursbury Police Department after a mysterious disaster involving Fred Savage. They’re given a new lease on life when it’s discovered that a Canadian border town is actually part of the United States, and they have been chosen to patrol the new area. Unsurprisingly, the locals are not keen on becoming Americans, and whacky mayhem ensues. Throw in some disgruntled Mounties and a cache of smuggled goods and you have all the makings of a great comedy.
Of course, like all of Broken Lizard’s films, the main through line is rarely of any consequence. For the most part, it is used to get us from one absurd encounter to the next. The film revels in making Canada the punchline of many of their jokes without seeming mean-spirited about it. It’s more akin to picking on a younger sibling.
For their part, the Broken Lizard quintet do more of the same from the original, yet this time around it seems a little more forced. A standout of the film is Rob Lowe, who plays the mayor/strip club owner of the town. He seems to be having a blast with his outlandish character who is equal parts goofball and antagonist. Mad TV alum, Will Sasso, also shines as one of the Mounties constantly butting heads with the team.
Where the film seems to lack is in its execution. Sure, the pull-over gags are there, but with the exception of a great French-Canadian exchange, the others seem far less inspired than those of the original. And that is where the problem lies. Anyone who sees the film will inevitably compare this to Super Troopers, and if you are seeing the sequel, it’s safe to assume you were a fan of it. Such a comparison is not fair to this film. We’ve had 16 years of “meow,” “shenanigans” and “liter of cola” to enrapture the film as one of the all-time comedy greats. We often forget that the original film was only a moderate success originally. It didn’t find mythical status until it was released on home video. Needless to say, it is impossible to evaluate the sequel on its own merits, without comparing it to the original. Also, things that worked sixteen years ago don’t necessarily work today. And even if they do work, they seem less special because we have seen them before.
In the pantheon of comedy sequels Super Troopers 2 fairs better than major stinkers like Zoolander 2 and Caddyshack 2, and lands more in the Wayne’s World 2 or Hangover 2 territory. It pales in comparison to the original, but has enough laughs to make it worth checking out.
Read CULTURE‘s exclusive interview with four of the five members of Broken Lizard here.