By Benjamin Cassidy
Like any cult classic, “Super Troopers” has devout fans who can readily produce memorable lines and phrases from the 2001 film. It wasn’t a surprise, then, when audience members shouted references to the original movie before and after an early April screening of “Super Troopers 2” at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas in Burlington, Vt. That nobody stopped them, however, was perhaps more indicative of the raucous, widespread affection for the flick, especially in Vermont. The Green Mountain State is also home to many of the movie’s more mellow followers.
“The audiences up here — they’re like educated stoners. And that is exactly our sweet spot,” director Jay Chandrasekhar said the next morning during an interview with fellow cast members and writers Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske at Hotel Vermont on Cherry Street.
Like “Super Troopers,” the sequel (which hit theaters on April 20) is set in Vermont — sort of. A town near the U.S./Canada border that has long been deemed French-Canadian is now likely to be ruled American. Consequently, Vermont’s governor (played once again by Lynda Carter) informs the infamously rowdy gang of five Vermont state troopers — Mac (Lemme), Thorny (Chandrasekhar), Foster (Soter), Rabbit (Stolhanske) and Farva (Heffernan) — that they need to set up a new highway patrol station in the disputed land.
They also must collaborate with local Canadian law enforcers. Predictably, rivalry and scandal emerge. It’s not the only plot resemblance to its forerunner, and fans will recognize many faces from the original, though not all made the cut.
“I think the hard thing was the characters from the first movie that we wanted to bring back, but you can’t bring back every character,” Heffernan said.
New faces include Rob Lowe, who plays the town’s mayor, and Emmanuelle Chriqui.
“In ways, I find their performances more fun to watch than our own,” Chandrasekhar said of actors who weren’t in the original.
Broken Lizard (the comedy troupe formed by the five actors playing troopers) began working on the movie in 2015. It was shot in Massachusetts, including areas near the Quabbin Reservoir. While Broken Lizard has written multiple films since “Super Troopers,” such as “Club Dread” and “Beerfest,” the group had a difficult time getting the sequel made. They sought $2 million via an Indiegogo campaign. They raised more than double that.
Before the Burlington screening, the five actors expressed their appreciation to those who had donated. But they need more support to start filming the next “Super Troopers.”
“We need them to actually go into the theater to see the movie the way that they didn’t watch the first one,” Soter said, “because what people did on the first one is they watched years later on the couch or whatever. … We don’t have the luxury this time of letting it seep slowly out into the public consciousness.”
Benjamin Cassidy is the arts and entertainment reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Michigan, Benjamin now lives in Dalton, Mass.