'Super Troopers' returns on 4/20, but the sequel might wreck your buzz

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(From L-R): Kevin Heffernan as "Farva," Jay Chandrasekhar as "Thorny," Erik Stolhanske as "Rabbit," Paul Soter as "Foster," and Steve Lemme as "Mac" in the film Super Troopers 2.

Nostalgia is big business in entertainment, and in on the act meow are comedy troupe Broken Lizard, who follow their 2001 cult favorite with the long-awaited Super Troopers 2. It’s a fun trip down memory lane, but like a high school reunion, it ends up reminding us that the good old days are good in part because they’re gone.

Super Troopers 2 brings back the first film’s goofball Vermont cops, who — again — must solve a crime before another competing police force beats them to the punch. This time, though, their rivals are from Canada — or, rather, a part of Canada that Vermont authorities intend to take over after finding that the Canadian-American border was drawn incorrectly. As with most Broken Lizard movies, it’s best not to ask too many questions.

Since the end of the first flick, our heroes — Farva (Kevin Heffernan), Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), Mac (Steve Lemme), and Foster (Paul Soter) — find themselves off the force following a tragic incident involving Fred Savage (details are revealed during the credits). To pay the bills, they pick up construction work (complete with caulk jokes) before the mayor (Lynda Carter) re-recruits them to the Vermont State Police to smooth over the Canada-to-America transition in the film’s annexed town.

This means tired Canadian stereotypes, which primarily revolve around the pronunciation of “sorry” (“sore-y”), Canada’s admittedly unusual love of Rush and the Barenaked Ladies, and the apparent funniness of the French-Canadian accent. It’s charming at first — especially from the film’s group of Canadian Mounties (Will Sasso, Hayes MacArthur, and Tyler Labine), and mayor Guy LeFranc (Rob Lowe) — yet wears thin across Super Trooper 2’s 100-minute run—time.

Provided you’re a fan of Super Troopers, or generally like inappropriate humor, you’ll like the first half of this movie.

But by the second, Super Troopers 2 relies so much on references to the original that if you haven’t seen the first movie — or forget some of its gags — you might be completely left out.

Some of the Super Trooper schtick still holds up. Farva is still as funny as ever, and might be as close to a live-action adult Cartman from South Park as we’ll ever get. Brian Cox’s Capt. O’Hagan is as loudmouthed and Irish as ever. Danny DeVito gets a shoutout for his role as Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But rather than try to indoctrinate a new era of fans into Super Troopers-dom, the movie just ends up calling back to the old. There is no evolution or continuation, just a “remember this,” which feels like a missed opportunity.

Also disappointing is the pervading sexism. At one point, Thorny becomes addicted to female libido enhancement pills, which have the side effects of making him a bad driver, emotional, and generally “bitchy,” while also intensifying his orgasms. Entourage’s Emmanuelle Chriqui, a Montrealer, plays a personality-less sexpot double agent whose sole purpose is to serve as a pawn in a sexual bet between two of the Super Troopers.

In that way, Super Troopers 2 feels like an old friend from high school with whom you have fond memories, but hasn’t grown all that much since you last saw him. You’re happy to see him still around, but it’s sad that he isn’t exactly changing with the times. Maybe that is to be expected from the Broken Lizard guys. The first Super Troopers has an intense cult following, and dirty humor that called back to ’80s Hollywood comedies, where homophobia and penis jokes were par for the course. The first movie was anarchic, and a comedic breath of fresh air in some ways.

In 2018, though, the cultural landscape has changed. Progress in the LGBTQ and women’s movements would make one hope that the Broken Lizard guys might have stopped seeing two men kissing as a punchline somewhere over the last 16 years.

But that lowbrow humor is part of the appeal to die-hard fans, and they are the only reason Super Troopers 2 exist — the movie was made after  a successful $4.6 million crowdfunding campaign. So they’re giving the fans what they want — it’s not a coincidence that this movie comes out on noted stoner holiday 4/20.

The problem isn’t that the humor is inappropriate, it’s that after almost two decades, it isn’t as funny.

MOVIES

Super Troopers 2

  • Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, With Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Erik Stolhanske, Steve Lemme, and Paul Soter. Distributed by Fox Searchlight.
  • Running time: 1 hour, 40 mins.
  • Parents guide: R (crude sexual content and language, drug material and graphic nudity).
  • Playing at: Area theaters.