Super Troopers Movie Review

Written by and starring members of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, Super Troopers definitely starts out exhibiting a lot of potential. The four guys of Broken Lizard play Vermont state troopers - Thorny, Rabbit, Mac, and Farva - that spend their days pranking folks they pull over on the highway into Canada, played out to particularly good effect in the opening scene involving a car full of stoned college kids. Plus, they get their kicks picking fights with the local fuzz, and battling to keep their precinct from being shut down by the budget-minded governor (Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter).

Unfortunately, Super Troopers never really hits its stride. While these pals who met at Colgate University (and produced Puddle Cruiser there) seem to be having a blast paying homage to cheesy '70s and '80s comedies - from the brilliant like Animal House and Caddyshack to the retarded like Cannonball Run and Police Academy, most of their gags fall flat - especially the biggest ones. And as much as I appreciate good old fashioned boy humor (masturbation, crotch shots, blow-up dolls, etc.), it's frustrating to see these guys - who are obviously pretty clever - waste their talent on parodies of things they probably thought were funniest when they were high.

But I have to give tremendous credit to them for some feats of daring. First off, the film's leading man (of sorts) is eastern Indian, and is perhaps the wittiest guy in the film. Talk about groundbreaking; they even manage to play jokes off the fact that he's Indian - like the fact that the local cops insist on talking to him in Spanish because they think he's Mexican. Second, these guys are obviously not afraid of shocking puritans in the audience, and most of it's done well (think old-school Farrelly Brothers). A couple of moments that come to mind are a wacky scene involving two German nymphomaniacs having a sleepover, and another featuring full-frontal male nudity (however brief) of a fat guy getting hosed down.

Also, there's a decent amount of comic acting talent in this bunch. Aside from veterans like Brian Cox (Rushmore) and Daniel Von Bargen (O Brother, Where Art Thou? and TV's Malcolm in the Middle), there's some new blood in the mix, notably Kevin Keffernan who plays the repugnant and clueless Farva. As the classic dumb guy outsider who's just too stupid to attain his goals of becoming one of the guys and working a job other than dispatcher, Keffernan plays Farva's feeble-mindedness with such success, you'll likely perk up each time he comes on screen.

Unfortunately, like all those "great" movies paid tribute to here, it takes a certain breed and a certain state of mind (typically an altered state) to enjoy a film like Super Troopers. And if you're like those college kids from the opening sequence or like the troopers later in the film who get high while watching "Afghan-imation" (you'll see), then this movie's going to rock your world. But much like the job of a Vermont state trooper, watching this hit-and-miss film is not nearly as fun otherwise.

Trooper's DVD piles on the extras, including a commentary track from the troupe, outtakes and extended scenes (presented in a very helpful manner: with what's already in the movie in black & white, what's new appearing in color -- though dual commentary tracks should have been consolidated), the obligatory featurette, and an alternate ending (no, not as funny as the eventual ending).

Fire away.


Super Troopers Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 2002


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