Comedy `Super' team needs backup
By MATT NANIA
Scene Movie Editor
In an age when a teen comedy film is released every other week and the kind of toilet humor made famous (or at least re-invigorated) by the Farrelly Brothers has uncomfortably found its home on Hollywood Boulevard, "Super Troopers" seems to have a lot going for it.
Not the product of some major studio, "Super Troopers" is the work of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (think Kids in the Hall but less bizarre) and was picked up by Fox Searchlight after being screened at last year's Sundance Film Festival.
While the potential is there for perhaps another "Caddyshack," the movie falls way short of the mark, quickly resorting to the over-the-top nature that teen films generally adhere to.
The opening scene of the movie is taken right out of the trailer. Three stoned college kids are heading to Canada when they are pulled over by the local Highway Patrol.
This segment has to rank as the best scene in the movie, with a close second being the flashback clip shown as the credits are rolling. As for the stuff in between, it's mostly hit and miss.
The story is of the shallow "Police Academy" variety: Broken Lizard's cast members (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske) play Vermont highway patrolmen who seem to enjoy their job only when they pull stunts on unsuspecting civilian drivers. They're more willing to see how many times they can say "meow" during their interrogation of the driver than actually hand out a ticket — that is, until the governor threatens to shut down the patrol and hand over their duties to the corrupt local police force.
But don't get too bogged down by the plot, since enjoyment of the movie hinges on everything but logic. The story itself is just a premise to string along a series of gags that amount to not much more than high school-style pranks and hazing exercises.
Like their adolescent brethren, Broken Lizard dive head-on into jokes ranging from rampant drug and alcohol abuse and masturbation to bestiality (pretending to have sex with a bear is pure cinematic genius).
Yes kids, there is a bit of gratuitous nudity, but most notably the full-frontal male nudity of the Chris Farley-esque Heffernan. It's not pretty.
And while there are moments that will have you laughing out loud — the bullet proof jock strap is particularly amusing — Broken Lizard seem more suited to the world of sketch comedy than attempting to piece together a full-length feature for the silver screen. (three shamrocks out of five)
Contact Matt Nania at email@example.com.
All Scene Stories for Thursday, February 21, 2002