REVIEW: Super Troopers [2002]

Score: 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: R | Runtime: 100 minutes | Release Date: February 15th, 2002 (USA)
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director(s): Jay Chandrasekhar
Writer(s): Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter & Erik Stolhanske

“It’s Afghanistanimation”

Ah, Broken Lizard. I would say that this is the movie that started it all, but of course it is not. That mantle is held by Puddle Cruiser, little seen at the time (self-distributed across country, college campus to college campus) and released on dvd upon the troupe’s burgeoning popularity that possesses some charm if only showing what was to soon come. Super Troopers is therefore the film that brought the group into the mainstream consciousness. The jokes may be crude and the humor lowbrow, but the movie as a whole is just plain funny. Some of the gags fire on all cylinders, utilizing wordplay, physical comedy, and well played cameos. These boys are certainly close-knit and unafraid to try something new or make fools of themselves. They write it all together and go out in front of the camera to make the audience laugh, even if that viewership consists solely of them. Not quite a pot comedy, nor a strict spoof on law enforcement, Super Troopers is a grab-bag of laughs that come often and fast, disguising a flimsy premise with its flash, one-liners, and shenanigans.

I will admit that I’d love this film if the final hour was acted out by sock puppets—that’s how good the first scene is. “Littering and … littering and … littering and …” When Jay Chandrasekhar (Thorny and the movie’s director) and Erik Stolhanske (Rabbit) take on the duty of pulling over a trio of drug-addled frat boys on the freeway, you will miss moments because of the loud laughter. From the moment they come onscreen until Steve Lemme (Mac) “hijacks” the cop car they are being held in for a trip to Mexico, you will have tears in your eyes. Hopefully I am not playing this sequence up as I truly believe everyone will find it hilarious. Geoffrey Arend steals the show by far as he completely freaks out from the amount of drugs coursing through his body.

As for the actual plot: the Vermont city they are in is strapped for cash and looking to dissolve either the state troopers or the city police. The troopers are played by our stars. They may partake in antics and games on the job, but they do actually seem to work when needed. Whether they play the “repeater” game, try and say “meow” as often as they can, or any other crazy activity to infuse some fun into the daily grind, they’ll still write the ticket and put the bad guys behind bars. Even when a couple of German swingers offer their bodies to just receive a warning, Thorny knows that they must be brought in because the car is stolen … he can always bring them home to spend time with them anyways—mustache rides free of charge. But I digress, the troopers attempt to crack open a case of drug smuggling in order to prove to the mayor that they should stay open while the city cops try and do the same. The two sides clash often and even find a bit of romance between them before all is said and done, but in the end one must go the way of the dinosaur.

Credit must be given to Brian Cox, yes that venerable Scotsman who’s classically trained on the stage. This guy has no shame and just has fun with a group of jackasses, letting loose while still bringing his trademark professionalism. If boxing while drunk soon after urinating on a pulled-over car can be construed as professional. And besides those already mentioned, Paul Soter is great as Foster—whose “biker” snafu with Ursula (Marisa Coughlan) is a standout moment—while Kevin Heffernan rises above all others as Farva. I knew this film had hit big and crossed into the American lexicon when a police officer came in for dinner at the fast-food restaurant where I work and asked for a liter of cola. I had to smile as he returned one of his own—we both knew the joke. Kudos to him for having a great sense of humor.

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