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A Selection from My Collection: Super Troopers

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By Chris Kavan - 08/20/11 at 09:30 AM CT

The first time I watched Super Troopers I thought it was a dumb movie. Though it took some convincing, I was compelled by a group of friends to give it another shot. Maybe it was the group dynamic; maybe it was the alcohol, but somewhere along the 4th-6th viewing, I decided this was one of the greatest comedies ever.

This film is the brainchild of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske who all act in the film (Chandrasekhar also directed the film). While their other films have been hit-or-miss – Beerfest being the best of the rest, while Club Dread was, well, dreadful – Super Troopers remains dear to my heart.

If you’re not hooked by the opening ten minutes of the film – with three pot-head college students being pulled over and their encounter with Vermont’s finest state troopers, well, you’re either not with the right group of people or you need another drink. Even after probably a good year, I could pretty much recite the entire opening sketch from memory. That's the only bad part about watching this film for the first time with a group of veterans - all the best lines will be ruined because everyone else knows what's coming.

In fact, this is a film filled with so many random and great one-liners, it’s about as quotable a movie as any: If I hear the word “Shenanigans” I immediately think Super Troopers. Same with Snozberries, Candy Bars, Mustache Ride or Afghanistanimation (granted most of these don’t come up in daily conversations, but still…)

While the story itself is based around a pot-smuggling operation and the Vermont State troopers fighting with the local Spurbury cops to keep their station open, it’s really just a showcase for various sketches: how many times you can say “meow”, the repeater, syrup-chugging contest, the old bullet-proof codpiece gag – if you have no idea what any of those are, you’re missing out.

It’s the characters that really steal the show: Brian Cox is on hand to lend an air of credibility to everything as the hard-nosed chief of the ragtag Vermont crew. Chandrasekhar is the most grounded of the troopers “Thorny” Ramathorn, being a family man and all – his race is a source of constant jokes throughout the film. Heffernan is Farva, the bumbling, prone-to-anger and least liked trooper – though he also utters my favorite line in the movie: “Want me to punch-a-size your face…. FOR FREE?"

Stolhanske is the rookie cop, Rabbit* who just wants to prove himself – even if it means getting covered in shaving cream. Lemme is the hot-headed Mac – quick to fight, quicker still to prank. Finally, Soter is the most serene trooper, who makes it his mission to strike up a romance with the only female Spurbury officer, Ursula (Marisa Coughlan).

Making cameo appearances are comedian Jim Gaffigan – a man pulled over who is the victim of the “meow” gag and Lynda Carter and Governor Jessman. Character actor Geoffrey Arend (you may not know the name, but you’ll recognize his face) plays one of the stoner kids (and has the best lines out of the three).

While it may have has limited critical appeal and likewise limited box office success, it quickly became a cult classic on DVD thanks to mainly the college crowd (which I was part of at the time) and continues to be strong draw among young adults – and those young at heart.

Is Super Troopers everyone’s cup of tea? No – the plot is loosely held together by a series of sketches that you may find hilarious or utterly stupid. It requires the right atmosphere to truly appreciates but, much like another comedy I enjoy (The Big Lebowski) you may have to watch it a few times to truly appreciate it. Oh, and if you do get through it, make sure to stay through the credits for some extra goodness.

*If you want to partake in the Super Trooper’s drinking game – Take a drink every time someone says Rook, Rookie or Rabbit (how strong of drink, I leave to your discretion). Provided you are of age of course and, as always, please drink responsibly.


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