Reefer Madness, an anti-marijuana propaganda film, came out in 1936. It largely marks the beginning of the film industry’s relationship with cannabis culture, and though Madness wasn’t intended as such, it certainly is ripe with comedy. Super Troopers was released in 2001, and following in the grand tradition of drug-influenced cult comedy movies, critics are not fond of it.
Rotten Tomatoes’ critic rating gives it 35%. Metacritic is a little more charitable at 48%. Fans of the movie are legion, however, and enthusiastic. Lovers of the Vermont State Police shenanigans have been clamoring for a sequel for years, and it was little surprise that the crowd-sourced fundraising for Super Troopers 2 exceeded so many expectations.
With over 5,400 donors raising $4.6 million in a campaign three years ago, the sequel to comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s cult classic was on its way. Because of benchmarks met during fundraising, actors returned to reprise their roles, notably Brian Cox as Chief O’Hagan, while other benchmarks brought newcomers like Rob Lowe (Guy LeFranc) to the franchise.
The original writing team and core cast of Jay Chandrasekhar (Thorny), Kevin Heffernan (Farva), Steve Lemme (Mac), Paul Soter (Foster), and Erik Stolhanske (Rabbit) threw the dice with a crowdfunding campaign, making promos and shorts to generate early interest in the film.
With funding goals met, filming was done over the course of 28 days, much like its predecessor. Chandrasekhar, pulling double-duty as Director, notes in an interview with Business Insider that while both are low-budget, making for a quick shooting schedule, “number two is much more complex, but we are all just better at filming, because we’ve done it a lot.”
Super Troopers 2 takes us north of the Vermont-Canada border, where due to some unresolved border definitions, a small Canadian town is due to be absorbed into an expanded Vermont. Our heroes, jobless after a disastrous ride-along with Fred Savage prior to events of the film (don’t worry, it’s in a fantastic post-credits scene), are called in for one more mustache ride.
The Mounties they’re slated to replace aren’t going to go quietly, of course. Led by MadTV vet Will Sasso’s Mountie Archambault, it’s a full-on prank war. In the meantime, admittedly borrowing from the first film’s plot, there are some shady dealings going on in the usually quiet US-Canada borderlands.
Super Troopers 2 is as advertised, from lambasting Canadian and American stereotypes to its advertising partnership with Hooters. From its opening scene, laden with sex, drugs and rock and roll on a ridiculous bus chase, the movie is running at a full absurd tilt. Chandrasekhar notes that “It’s that kind of movie that seems to bug [critics],” but he stands by Broken Lizard’s work. Not every critic is trashing the movie- Super Troopers 2 was given a Critics’ Pick nod from the New York Times.
The movie is undeniably funny, and there’s definitely a handful of endlessly quotable moments. While jokes about genitalia and flatulence are low hanging fruit, there’s always been a certain intelligence to Broken Lizard’s writing that helps these bro-humor masterworks age surprisingly well. Some of the sequel’s jokes, however, are a little stale out of the box, particularly when one character becomes addicted to a female sex hormone supplement, but the nonstop pacing of jokes keeps the fresh laughs coming at a steady rate.
Fans will love it, critics will (mostly) hate it. The movie is worth it alone for the reel of traffic stops with the main cast impersonating Mounties. The main characters seem like more amped up version than before, with Heffernan’s Farva pulling in an extra liter-a-laughs. Super Troopers 2 more than lives up to the promises of its crowd-funding campaign, and it will be interesting to see what the future brings for the Broken Lizard gang should this movie succeed at the box office.
As of this writing at the close of its opening weekend, Super Troopers 2 is sitting at a 35% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite the critical nod from the NYT. It also soared past early predictions of $5 million, nearly hitting $15.