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MOVIES: Super Troopers 2 - Review

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Sixteen years after the Vermont Highway Patrol first endeared themselves to comedy fans and stoners across the globe, the Super Troopers are finally returning to the screen in a long-awaited sequel. Indeed, it was the original film's diehard fan base that made it all happen, donating more than $4 million to a crowdfunding campaign that finally kickstarted production after nearly a decade of rumor, speculation and false starts, and those backers will almost certainly feel their dollar were well-spent when Super Troopers 2 hits theater screens this weekend.

Picking up a few years after the events of the previous film, the guys are no longer brandishing badges and pulling pranks on unsuspecting motorists. Instead, we find Mac (Steve Lemme) and Rabbit (Erik Stolhankse) working a construction job, where Farva (Kevin Heffernan) has somehow ascended to the role of site supervisor, becoming even more insufferable in the process. Luckily, Farva has been left in the dark about the weekend's upcoming fishing trip, where the guys will join Captain O'Hagen (Brian Cox) for a relaxing weekend in the wilderness.

That is, of course, until a crisis of sorts presents itself: it seems the border between the United States and Canada was originally drawn incorrectly. The two governments have worked out a realignment, with the new map putting a tiny French Canadian village squarely on US soil, and in need of a temporary police force to handle the transition as the local Mounties are phased out. Slipping back into their old uniforms - not to mention their old habits - the Troopers head north to wreak their own unique brand of havoc on the unsuspecting Canucks.

The admittedly absurd premise is merely the tip of the iceberg, as Super Troopers 2 gleefully forges ahead into absolute insanity. Whether it's fending off a grizzly bear in their station house or being accosted by a gang of co-ed prostitutes in a local brothel, the Troopers rarely go more than a few minutes without facing some new dilemma - and not only do they stumble upon a smuggling operation involving counterfeit iPhones and various pharmaceuticals, but they also find themselves at war with a trio of Mounties (Tyler Labine, Will Sasso and Hayes MacArthur, all sporting ridiculously overplayed accents) that aren't keen to let a bunch of Yanks come in and take over.

Despite a sixteen-year gap since the last time they donned the uniforms, the guys haven't missed a beat, and look to have hardly aged at all (director Jay Chandrasekhar, who portrays the racially ambiguous Arcot "Thorny" Ramathorn, reportedly refused to begin shooting until everyone had lost enough weight to replicate their appearance in the original film). The script for Super Troopers 2 is also much tighter than its predecessor, with a steady barrage of jokes that provide a more consistent supply of laughs, and while some of the humor is derived from playing up typical Canadian stereotypes, the film also takes a few shots at the red, white, and blue, such as when a Mountie quips "Maybe if we'd won our independence 200 years ago like you, we wouldn't have gun control or free health card and we'd all be morbidly obese."

Rob Lowe garners his own share of laughs as Guy Le Franc, a former Canadian hockey player who used his fame as a stepping stone to becoming mayor of the aforementioned village, and Emmanuelle Chriqui is delightful as a cultural attaché trying to make the transition process go as smoothly as possible. Cameos abound elsewhere in the film, with the most rewarding popping up during the end credits and shedding some light on the incident which originally cost the Troopers their jobs.

Comedy sequels are often a risky proposition - particularly ones that arrive a decade or more after the first installment - but Super Troopers 2 bucks the trend by dishing out just enough of the same formula to satisfy fans (expect a few callbacks to some of the original film's best jokes), while also trying to break the mold with plenty of new gags, and a few surprises along the way. Whether or not it transcends the first movie, or even reaches the same cult status, will be anyone's guess - but longtime fans should have no trepidation about purchasing tickets right meow.

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