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Review: “Super Troopers 2” is a Fuller, Thicker Mustachioed Comedy

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The comedy troupe Broken Lizard returns to the road for another batch of skits about highway patrolmen going Animal House on the job. Worth noting is that the ensemble and their fans made Super Troopers 2 possible thanks to campaigns to raise funding for the film. While their fervent desire to brandish the badges and mustaches once more wasn’t exactly an inspiring ascension past lowbrow chow, there’s undoubtedly enough hilarious skits present to topple the small hurdle of being better than the original Super Troopers.

(From L-R): Jay Chandrasekhar as “Thorny,” Steve Lemme as “Mac,” Paul Soter as “Foster,” Erik Stolhanske as “Rabbit,” Kevin Heffernan as “Farva,” Brian Cox as “Captain O’Hagan” and Rob Lowe as “Guy LeFranc” in the film SUPER TROOPERS 2. Photo by Jon Pack. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Despite a change of scenery, the formula remains relatively the same after the whole gang is gathered back together. In a plot that’s straight out of a ludicrous cartoon, a portion of Vermont is taking control of Canadian territory, and this new pocket of American land needs to swap out of the law enforcement. Into the rustic woods comes the collective of jovial highway patrolmen to goof off and enforce the law. But mostly goof off. When not making college-level pranks and zingers, they’re once again on the trail of drugs that once again leads to a conspiracy that once again results in a saving-the-day situation for the bumbling jesters of varied mustaches.

At its core, yes, this is a flimsy premise and little more than an excuse for more skits. It’s a script that makes no major attempt to cover up that the small-town mayor of Guy Le Franc, played by Rob Lowe with an overblown exaggeration of an accent, is our secret villain for trying to raise tension between Americans and Canadians in the area. This is not a spoiler. The film telegraphs reasonably early that he’s in on the web of corruption, how he so quickly stirs the pot. It’s also not much of a twist that the cocky mounties transitioning are too alike of the patrolmen to be their evil twins, nor is the obligatory French love interest that exists for little more than kinks and twists.

What matters most is how funny this ensemble can be in this bizarre scenario, and they manage to pull out more hilarious bits than they do dead-on-arrival gags. The most durable member of the pack is Jay Chandrasekhar playing Thorny, the trooper with the biggest batch of facial hair suitable for mustache rides. His delivery and smugness make him the most pleasing to watch, even if he’s reduced to the running gag of taking female hormones with expected results. The glue of the picture is undeniably Brian Cox as Captain John O’Hagen, shouting and scowling at the misbehavior of his men, but not above joining in the insanity when it suits his position.

But then there’s Kevin Heffernan, playing the tubby and obnoxious Farva, a trooper of infinite tasteless jokes and annoying delivery. There are only two ways to find funny in Farva; either you laugh at his ineptitude to consistently be a pest or laugh along with his terrible jokes. He’s fun to watch in how his cocky nature catches up with him, but now and then it feels as though his lowest-of-the-lowbrow jokes are supposed to be genuinely funny. They may not be, but with how many duds of dumb the script slings out, Farva does tread on the nerves a few more times than he should.

The good news is that there are more smile and laugh-worthy gags to outweigh the ones that crash and burn. Sometimes it’s the most straightforward delivery of the troupe. In the build-up to a bit where Farva touches an electrified police radio, O’Hagen bewilderedly questions why Farva never chews M&Ms. There’s no particular punchline to this exchange, but Brian Cox’s expression and Farva’s commitment to swallowing candy just made me crack up. Perhaps it’s the juxtaposition of the more over-the-top skits of trying to get a bear out of the office, dumping mounties off in the woods naked, or the entire patrolmen ensemble trying out the various drugs they found to determine what they do.

While I found the previous film strictly hit-or-miss, Super Troopers 2 manages to be fast and crude enough to deliver more hits narrowly. There are some less-than-stellar cameos by the likes of Sean William Scott and Damon Wayans Jr., but there’s also some pleasing appearances by Lynda Carter and Jim Gaffigan. There are some lame asides as when the men hallucinate themselves in a pot-smoking rock band on the run from the law, but the momentum thankfully builds back up by the time Jay Chandrasekhar starts taking female hormone pills with clever Canadian branding. It’s a mixed bag of bushy-faced shenanigans, but with just enough absurdity to not be too disappointed by the film’s obligatory ending. The mustache ride still had a quart of laughs left in this franchise, though I can’t see it going any further, barring being under the influence while viewing.

[author title=”About the Author” image=”http://popstermedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mark_mcpherson-300×221-150×150.jpg”]Movie Reviewer Mark McPherson has been all about movies since working at a video store in his youth. His talents range from video editing to animation to web development, but movies have always been his passion to write about.[/author]


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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.


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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.


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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.


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