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SUPER TROOPERS

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox, Marisa Coughlan
Director:  Jay Chandrasekhar
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  20th Century Fox
Features:  See Review
Length:  103 Minutes
Release Date:  August 6, 2002

“You crapped on my heart!”

“I WHAT on your heart?!”

Film *

I think the scene in Super Troopers that best explains the film is when our gleefully inept “heroes” smoke some weed and laugh long and hard at a cartoon that isn’t funny (or even in English).  Those cops are portrayed by the comedy team Broken Lizard, who also penned the film, and I think that sequence is possibly a good look at their creative process.

Simply put, Super Troopers is not the kind of film anybody devoid of a mind-altering substance will find funny.  Toss back a couple of drinks, and you have a laugh riot.  Ingest something illegal, and it’s a scream.  Watch it on nothing more than Crystal Light and canned pasta, like I did, and you’re out of the loop.

I’d call it the Porky’s of police movies to give you an idea of the sophomoric brainpower behind it, but I actually laughed at Porky’s.  Troopers never gave me even so much as a chuckle.

Here’s the litmus test for you…if you find any of these ideas funny, then this is your movie:  a second cop simply repeating everything the first cop says during a routine stop.  An officer who tries to say “meow” ten times during the course of a citation.  A spitting-in-the-burger joke at a fast food restaurant.  Rookie hazing.  And so on.

The plot, such as it is, involves our highway troopers versus the local police in a small town in Vermont.  The governor (portrayed by the eternally lovely Lynda Carter) is threatening to pull the troopers’ budget and shut them down, going with the local cops only.  And the troopers aren’t making it any easier, much to the dismay of their leader (Cox).  They screw up, and screw up badly, every chance they get.

The movie meanders its way towards a long-forgone and unoriginal conclusion…am I giving anything away if I say that our blundering boys end up heroes at the end?  I thought not.  Hey, maybe they could end up as a town’s saviors.  It’s fair to say they won’t win any awards for comedy.

Super Troopers is a bland, uninspired mess for those with clean systems.  You pretty much have to be on whatever Broken Lizard was on when they wrote this to find anything funny.

Video ****

Bad film or no, this is a superior anamorphic transfer from Fox, who never seems to fail to deliver quality.  Colors and tones are natural, well-rendered and contained from start to finish, while detail level is always strong.  There’s not a hint of grain, shimmer, softness, or anything compression-related to spoil the viewing.  Highest marks.

Audio ****

Likewise, the 5.1 soundtrack is a top-drawer offering.  Most of the film’s energy comes from its audio, and from start to finish, this is a busy and dynamic presentation.  Car chases spin out into every corner of your living room, while the rock music soundtrack by .38 Special adds extra punch.  Dialogue is clean and clear, and the .1 channel kicks in to accentuate the action.  Crossovers are smooth and balanced, and the overall mix is superb.

Features ***1/2

There are two commentary tracks, if you really want them…seems like all of Broken Lizard couldn’t get together for one setting, so they split up into separate groups.  The first track features Jay Chandrasekhar, who is also the director of the film; go to that one if you want more real information.  Both tracks are amiable enough, but not always interesting enough.

There is also a 6 minute featurette, a 2 minute look at a road trip the troupe took to promote the film, a 16 minute outtake reel and 14 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary (including an alternate ending), a trailer for this film and Kung Pow, plus some cool animated menus with sound.

Summary:

Super Troopers is for the kind of people who think prank phone calls or slapping people with a wet towel are pinnacles of humor.  For the rest of us, it’s an energetic but uninspired montage that falls short of spoof, parody, or anything that comes remotely close to activating a brain cell.

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