Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: "Super Troopers" Can Be Funny (Happy B'day, Jay Chandrasekhar)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 36 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Super Troopers (2001)
Running time:  100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for language, sexual content and drug use
DIRECTOR:  Jay Chandrasekhar
WRITERS:  Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske)
PRODUCER:  Richard Perello
EDITORS:  Jumbulingam (Jay Chandrasekhar), Jacob Craycroft, and Kevin Heffernan
COMPOSERS:  38 Special


Starring:  Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Marisa Coughlan, Brian Cox, Daniel van Bargen, Michael Weaver, Dan Fey, Jim Gaffigan, and Lynda Carter

The subject of this movie review is Super Troopers, a 2001 comedy starring the comedy troupe, Broken Lizard, and directed by member, Jay Chandrasekhar.  The film focuses on five Vermont state troopers, who are pranksters and screws ups, trying to outperform an overachieving local police department.  Although Super Troopers was shown at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, it did not receive a national U.S. theatrical release (by Fox Searchlight Pictures) until 2002.

Movie reviewers often take the easy road or the high-minded road when they opine on what we film lovers call the guilty pleasure – the bad movie that is “really (seriously, now) entertaining.”  So a movie often has to be taken for what it is, and what it is may not amount to very much.  Perhaps the filmmakers were expressing themselves in the only way they knew.  They were being themselves or being true to their game.  Or maybe speaking in their own voices and not in someone else’s voice, and they made a movie just to have a silly time.

This is Super Troopers, and for the sake of the usual argument, this is a poorly constructed movie.  It’s way too long, has a poor story, a predictable plot and premise, a boring setting, and is set in an indeterminate time, etc.

The plot, in which the appealing underdogs must overcome the overachieving jerks in order to save their low rent livelihoods, is the stiff upon which this cast hangs their act, and the act is the show.

Broken Lizard is a New York and Los Angeles based comedy troop made up of this movie’s director and his co-writers.  The movie is merely a vehicle for their uproarious act.  I’ve never seen them onstage, but, based upon this funny (no, really) film, I’m anxious to taste them.  They are difficult to categorize.  They aren’t slackers, because they lack the phony Gen X cool, and they aren’t thugs, ruffians, and lowlifes.  Goofy and dumb doesn’t quite fit.

They’re like regulars guys, and their extreme antics are their means to wile away the extreme boredom, continued dullness, and constant pain-in-the-ass throb of life.  Their sexual antics are loud without being raunchy.  Their act is harmful, but like “Beavis and Butthead” and “Bart Simpson,” they are mostly harmful to themselves.  Broken Lizard comes across as regular guys having a way too wild time.

When you watch Super Troopers, you can forget about what a movie is supposed to be like and what’s supposed to be in a movie, you just have a great time laughing at these clowns.

Yeah, maybe the show does go on a bit too long, as if Broken Lizard is not aware that as funny as they are, they can wear out their welcome, but that doesn’t take away from the fun, not by much.

6 of 10

Updated:  Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

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