Experience has taught us not to get our hopes up about long-awaited sequels, especially sequels to films whose charms were obscure or quirky to begin with. (It’s hard enough to catch regular lightning twice, let alone cult-favorite lightning.) Super Troopers 2, a followup to comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s minor hit from 2002 about screwy Vermont highway patrolmen, repeats the earlier film’s successful strategy of not being overburdened by plot, allowing the five team members — Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar, who also directed), Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), Foster (Paul Soter), and crass loudmouth Farva (Kevin Heffernan) — to horse around in sundry ways, provoking each other and their opponents with pranks, drugs, and sheer bloody-mindedness. The result is hit-or-miss, not as manic or anarchic as last time, but peppered with funny moments.
The troopers, who were fired after an incident involving Fred Savage (you have to wait till the end to see what happened), are working new jobs when their old boss, Capt. O’Hagen (Brian Cox), and Gov. Jessman (Lynda Carter) recruit them for a special task. An irregularity in the U.S./Canadian border has been discovered, and in a few weeks a tiny section of southern Quebec is going to become northern Vermont. A temporary police force is needed to oversee the transition, to work alongside three Mounties (Tyler Labine, Will Sasso, and Hayes MacArthur) who have absurdly thick Quebecois accents and are as disdainful of the Americans as the Americans are of them. (Hearing Canadians mock the way we say “sorry” — “SAAAAAHHH-RY!” — is unaccountably hilarious.)
The Vermonters stumble across a drug-smuggling operation, giving them the opportunity to each take a different drug for no reason other than our amusement. Most of their energy, though, is spent harassing their Canadian counterparts (and vice versa), including a delightful sequence where they dress up as Mounties and then set out to be the worst cops they possibly can be, just to give Canadians a bad reputation. That singularity of purpose gives the film a boost. Most of the time, the four troopers who aren’t Farva are indistinguishable from one another, personalitywise. Maybe that’s why the shenanigans wear thin after a while: There’s no character-driven motivation behind them. Then again, how much motivation do you need to torment Canadians?