Sometimes you need a few laughs. The days are filled with problems at work and even the weekends are crowded with taking the kids places and doing chores around the house. At times like this, you need to drop the responsibilities of the adult world and let that kid inside back out. Remember back to your early teens when the class clown could make everyone roll on the floor laughing by telling a fart joke or some other form or scatological humor. Sure those jokes were the ultimate in being silly, but for you and your friends, they were funny. By the time we reach adulthood we are expected to have a more refined sense of humor. However, this is not supported by the comedies that make it film. Most comedies that are rated R are simply one juvenile joke after another in an endless stream of bad taste. They typically include many jokes based on sex and drugs and are primarily targeted towards high school and college guys. The thing is for most guys that demographic may technically long gone, but that kid lies just beneath the surface and is itching to come out to play. One of the better in this largely belabored genre is ‘Super Troopers’ from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. It is silly to the point of being stupid, crude, rude and completely socially unacceptable. In other words, it is hilarious. It is the kind of flick that you can’t help but laugh at. One word of warning to the guys who are considering this flick; do not try to make your wife or girlfriend watch it with you. If they ask on their own great but make sure the ladies and kiddies are out of the house during your screening. This is perfect for that poker night or when the guys are over for a game, and there is rain out. A movie like this is a goldmine for the studios. This one was made on a shoestring budget of only $3 million. It made that back several times over in its first weekend. It was marketed at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival where the Indy film division of Fox, Fox Searchlight picked it up. After theatrical and video releases around the world, it is nowhere in the states both as the 2002 DVD release and a new Blu-ray version.
The film was co-written by members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe consisting of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. As usual for one of their films, Chandrasekhar takes on the directorial aspect of the production. These men are, for lack of another word, crazy. Their humor is somewhat in the vein of ‘Monty Python’ but with a cruder American slant. They met at Colgate University in upstate New York and started their act. This was their first film and having seen the subsequent movies they may have refined their techniques, but their comedy is as raunchy and out of control as ever. In a film like this, the story has to be concerned with a group of complete misfits. It is such as firmly established plot device in the R rated comedy that it seems like a cinematic law of some sort. Here the guys play a small squad of state troopers in Vermont. They are bumbling idiots that could get legal evidence if the criminal was discovered with a dripping knife over a dead body. This film rises above the rest of the lamentable pack because the story allows the comedians to develop their characters. There is a core of humanity to them even if they are unable to do anything right. One of the things that work best in this film is some of the running gags that are basically off to the side of the main plot. The troopers out of boredom and a need to fill their quotas pull over an unsuspecting motorist. Anyone who ever got a ticket by a state trooper has suspected that this was the reason, so it is great fun to see that exact scenario played out. They mess with the heads of stoners and amorous couples with hysterical results.
Chandrasekhar has a real knack for directing a flick like this. He seems to have a natural way of balancing the off-color humor with enough humanity to get through to the audience. The jokes come at you are the required fast pace. You barely have a minute to catch your breath before the next gag is shown. It does help in a situation like this were the director friends with the cast. It gives the feeling of some guys with nothing else to do goofing around on their own. This is frat boy humor from a real group of former frat members. They know their primary audience because they are part of it. Chandrasekhar can work in a middle ground between outright madness and filmmaking. He can reign in his friends when the need is and let them loose at will.
In Vermont, a group of state troopers is always in trouble for the constant pranks they pull on people traveling through their far state. They include Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar), Mac (Steve Lemme) and Foster (Paul Soter). At the low end of their internal hierarchy is the rookie, Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske). The trio of troopers also finds particular delight in teasing the radio dispatcher, Farva (Kevin Heffernan), who is a trooper banned from road duty do to an incident involving some students, a school bus and the excessive use of force. At the head of the group is Captain John O'Hagen (Brian Cox) who gives a lot of leeway to his troops but also has to be an administrator. His latest problem is state cutbacks are about to close the station in favor of patrols by the city police. What they need is a highly visible bust to put them on the map. This comes in the form of a murder interconnected to a major drug smuggling ring. If the guys can pull it together enough to solve the crimes they might stay in business. Things get a little complicated when Rabbit starts a relationship with a City beautiful city cop, Ursula (Marisa Coughlan). The city police get the upper hand, and the troopers are fired and have to find some way to get their jobs back.
The film is wacky and entertaining. It is the kind of movie that you will find new jokes every time you watch; mostly because you laughed through them during your first viewing. These are a bunch of very talented men and will go far in helping to bring some new life to a genre that has become a retreat for hacks. I didn’t think that a high definition release would make much of a difference, but after watching the Blu-ray disc, I was pleasantly surprised. The crisp, vivid colors and extremely well-done contrast makes the movie jump off the screen. The DTS HD audio is amazing with a lifelike ambiance that draws you into the action. Typical of a Fox Blu-ray release there are a lot of extras that will keep you laughing even longer. This is one to get and enjoy.
Posted 12/07/08 Posted 08/05/2018