Super Troopers

Super Troopers

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

What happens to goofy teenage comics when they grow up and learn how to use the bathroom? A few go on acting.

These highway patrolmen probably never suffered rites-of-passage initiation ceremonies - movies with the word "Pie" or "Scream" in them - in which girls' undergarments take leading roles, but the drift of their comic style is not far removed, only a little more adult in the lavatorial sense. They avoid a refried North American version of Carry On Cop by restraining a tendency towards knockabout whoopsy in favour of subdued silliness.

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The highway they patrol is the one leading to the Canadian border, popular amongst drug smugglers. The small band of law enforcement officers, under the command of Capt O'Hagan (Brian Cox), can't take the job seriously, mainly because it's so boring.

To keep themselves amused, they pull cars over and treat their occupants to an array of absurd demands, delivered in the traditional Judge Dredd manner. One of their games is to see who can say "Meow" the most, while interrogating an unfortunate driver. Scaring teenage road trippers is another fun thing to do.

It's not all high jinks with sirens blaring. There are rumours that the Governor is about to disband the patrol because of its feeble record and "budget cuts." This has been encouraged by O'Hagan's arch rival, Police Chief Grady (Daniel von Bargen), from the local state force, who considers his "boys" a more effective, efficient, dedicated and disciplined unit by a margin of several high profile arrests. With the exception of the Mena Suvari lookalike, Officer Ursula Hanson (Marisa Coughlan), who ladys the front desk at the station, they are locker room louts, not averse to backhand irregularity.

When one of the super troopers discovers by mistake a massive haul of funny weed in the back of a truck, O'Hagan is ready to gloat until Grady and his dirty tricksters move in to take the credit. This leads to an unnatural act, perpetuated upon a stuffed grizzly, accompanied by soft core slapstick and the sight of a naked fat man being taunted in the showers with icing sugar.

Written and performed by the five members of Broken Lizard, a theatre-based group, Super Troopers takes an old idea - Police Academy on wheels - and gives it a fresh coat of jokes. For once, actors have contributed equally to the sum of their parts, reversing the trend towards ego meltdown in the comedy store.

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2002
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Police Academy on wheels.
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Director: Jay Chandrasekhar

Writer: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske

Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox, Daniel von Bargen, Marisa Coughlan

Year: 2001

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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