A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Super Troopers 2 is the sequel to the 2001 cult comedy about a group of bumbling Vermont state troopers; this time around, they're getting another chance at their beloved old jobs in a border town that's transitioning from Canadian to American custody. It delivers plenty of the same kind of over-the-top humor that fans of the original will expect. There's exaggerated violence (people get shot, dead bodies are hurled at moving cars, etc.), nudity (breasts, butts, likely prosthetic penis), tons of graphic sex talk, extreme language ("f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and much more), and drug use, as well as a really sexist ongoing joke about a man taking female hormones and behaving in stereotypically negative "female" ways. The Broken Lizard comedy troupe (including Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Kevin Heffernan) is joined by Brian Cox, Lynda Carter, Rob Lowe, and more. The movie seems aimed at college-age fans and above, but teens who've discovered the original may be interested, too.
What's the story?
The good-time highway cops (played by members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, with Brian Cox as their boss) who were forced to become local cops at the end of the original Super Troopers have since managed to lose those jobs, too, at the start of SUPER TROOPERS 2. Hungering to get their badges, guns, and wheels back, they eagerly accept an assignment from the Vermont governor (Lynda Carter) to form an ad-hoc police unit in a small town on the Vermont-Canada border that's switching over to U.S. control. They aren't exactly welcomed by the surprisingly unfriendly neighbors to the north, including the massive Mounties they're displacing. They uncover a smuggling operation, but to crack the case, they have to figure out who's on their side: the Mounties, the mayor (Rob Lowe), and/or a smart local beauty (Emmanuelle Chriqui).
Is it any good?
This funny sequel is a major step up, cinematically, from the original, and it has an unusually interesting premise for a "gonzo stoner" comedy. All the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll humor that fans will be expecting from Super Troopers 2 is here, including the cops testing the illicit drugs on themselves and the use of a (hopefully prosthetic) penis to demonstrate how chill Canadian sex laws are. The Broken Lizard players (director Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske), who also wrote the film, are all completely settled into their roles as the prank-and-party-first cops. There's a familiarity that makes the jokes feel more comfortable -- even when they involve, say, forcibly shaving a friend's pubis. The story beats are familiar, too: The gang of likable screw-ups feuds with local law enforcement, stumbles across a smuggling operation, and bungles its way to a showdown (while a mediocre dude romances a gal who's out of his league). While the movie is rooted in an interesting enforced-immigration scenario, things never get too topical -- there's plenty of fish-out-of-water humor and Canadians-actually-hate-Americans gags as well. It's a festival of stereotype-on-stereotype violence as the Mounties feud with the Yankees; many gags pay off handsomely. The budget is bigger this time, so there are more explosions and other gonzo stuff compared to the original; it's a slicker enterprise in terms of its technical filmmaking.
On the notable downside, there's a sexist running gag in which a male character takes female hormones and assumes stereotypically negative "female" traits (extreme emotionality, inability to drive well). Whether that's sufficiently balanced by the strong female characters and the general air of stupidity hanging over pretty much everyone else will be up to viewers. But on balance, Super Troopers 2 isn't just a worthy sequel to the 2001 cult hit; it's an improvement.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays recreational drug use vs. drug trafficking. Both of the Super Troopers movies seem to condemn the latter while celebrating the former. What message does that send?
How did you feel about the running joke about the female hormone supplement that makes a male character take on stereotypically negative female characteristics? Did it offend you? Did it make the film seem sexist? How does it stack up against the fact that three female characters are presented as probably the smartest people in the film?
Is it funny to see authority figures behaving like total fools? Why or why not?
Is there political commentary in the film's premise -- i.e., enforced immigration -- or do you think it's just meant to be a fun gag?
- In theaters: April 20, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: July 17, 2018
- Cast: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme
- Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
- Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content and language throughout, drug material and some graphic nudity