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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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Box Office

Another Astounding Weekend at the Box Office for Avengers: Infinity War

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Box Office Weekend 5/4/18-5/6/18

Not the least bit surprising, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War has dominated the weekend box office with another massive gross. In its second weekend, the grandest superhero ensemble to date brought in $112.4 million. This brings its domestic total up to $450 million, and its worldwide take well over $1 billion. Time will tell if it has the legs, however, to hold its own against Marvel’s other superhero epic this year, Black Panther. Considering Black Panther is still in the top 10, and has almost passed $700 million domestic, it’ll be a close race between the two Marvel movies.

Of course, the success of the Avengers is due in no small part to this being a rather sparse weekend of premieres appearing in fewer theaters. Braving the Marvel storm to come in at #2 was the romantic comedy remake, Overboard, starring Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris, making $14.7 million domestic. And if that’s the gross of the #2 spot, you can imagine how lower the other films are. Tully, a new comedy Jason Reitman and starring Charlize Theron, came in at #6 with a domestic gross of $3.1 million. Further down at #10 is the new David Tennant starring thriller, Bad Samaritan, making $1.7 million for the weekend.

There were expected dips all around with no huge surprises, but many of the successful films that have hung around are growing a considerable gross. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place had the lowest drop and is currently sitting at a robust $159 million domestic total. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther has already blazed many records, but it’s only $7 million away from clearing $700 million domestic.

See the full top 10 box office results below.

  1. Avengers: Infinity War ($112,474,000)
  2. Overboard ($14,750,000)
  3. A Quiet Place ($7,600,000)
  4. I Feel Pretty ($4,900,000)
  5. Rampage ($4,620,000)
  6. Tully ($3,186,000)
  7. Black Panther ($3,146,000)
  8. Truth or Dare ($1,885,000)
  9. Super Troopers 2 ($1,815,000)
  10. Bad Samaritan ($1,758,000)

Next weekend, Avengers will be battling against the Melissa McCarthy starring comedy Life of the Party and the Gabrielle Union starring thriller Breaking In. Considering that Life of the Party will have the most significant theater count, McCarthy has the only real shot at being the first film to knock the superhero giant down from the top 10, though it’s doubtful of the Avengers hype will have died down by then.


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Life of the Party and Breaking In Dominated by Avengers

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Box Office Report 5/11/18 – 5/13/18

In its third weekend, Avengers: Infinity War is still going strong with a beefy #1 spot that has yet to be bested. Marvel Studio’s latest superhero epic amassed $61.8 million for the weekend, soaring its total domestic gross up to $547 million. The film has managed to make more than Marvel’s other 2018 hit, Black Panther, in the same amount of time, but whether it’ll reach the same domestic gross remains to be seen. With the oncoming superhero film next week and a Star Wars film following, it’ll have some fierce competition.

The two newest films this week slid comfortably into the slots just below. Life of the Party, the new back-to-school comedy with Melissa McCarthy, predictably hit the #2 spot for being a female-centric comedy released on Mother’s Day weekend. While it didn’t exactly take the cake, the film did make $18.5 million to earn its spot during another Marvel cinematic snowstorm of a weekend. Just below it was the new thriller Breaking In, grossing $16.5 million, which is not too shabby for a film debuting in only 2500 theaters.

There were surprisingly low dips all around in the top 10. The smallest drop was for A Quiet Place, still hanging in there as the surprise horror hit, earning $6.4 million to boost its domestic total to $169.5 million. It’s not too surprising that the most significant drop was for Black Panther, grossing only $1.9 million. It’s a predictable drop considering the movie has been out for thirteen weeks, is already available to buy digitally, and will be out on DVD and Blu-ray by this Tuesday. It’s still a considerable feat for a film that has domestically grossed $696 million so far.

One film worth mentioning that snuck into the top 10 is RGB, the documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, expanding for the weekend into 180 theaters. That’s very impressive for such a small film to conquer the #10 spot on Mother’s Day weekend with a $1.1 million gross.

View the full top 10 list below.

  1. Avengers: Infinity War ($61,817,000)
  2. Life of the Party ($18,500,000)
  3. Breaking In ($16,500,000)
  4. Overboard ($10,100,000)
  5. A Quiet Place ($6,400,000)
  6. I Feel Pretty ($3,710,000)
  7. Rampage ($3,380,000)
  8. Tully ($2,240,000)
  9. Black Panther ($1,932,000)
  10. RGB ($1,165,000)

Next weekend, Infinity War will be going up against a real contender with Deadpool 2, the sequel to the Ryan Reynolds starring superhero comedy that broke records in 2016. Also vying for the box office will be the dog comedy, Show Dogs, and the aged female-oriented comedy, Book Club.


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Marvel

Review: “Deadpool 2” is Reheated Chimichangas That Mostly Hold Up

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Deadpool is third-wall breaking anti-hero that feels more needed than ever in the current crop of amassing superhero films. His self-aware satire made his 2016 film a hoot with commentary on the messy timelines, the lack of casting, and even mocking Ryan Reynolds himself. And while his sequel film does maintain that fast-paced and joking nature that made the character a breath of fresh air, it’s mostly the same brand we’ve come to expect from the merc with the mouth.

All the familiar scenes are present, even with the same bits of dialogue repeated from the previous film. There’s an opening fight where Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) narrates how this isn’t a superhero movie for the kids. There’s an extended bit where he trots around the X-Men headquarters where there are little to no mutants present. Hugh Jackman isn’t present in the film, but he always seems to find his way into the script in one form or another. Deadpool even rides up to the finale in a taxi and mentions chimichangas once again. While these segments still garner a laugh, there’s a lingering notion with each smirk that this superhero is running out of originality.

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and Karan Soni (Dopinder) in Twentieth Century Fox’s DEADPOOL 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

One of my biggest complaints about the previous film was that there needed to be more actors for Deadpool to play off so that his fourth-wall narration doesn’t overwhelm the screen. The sequel features the opposite, amassing too many characters for Wade to rib that they struggle to work their way into the script. Cable (Josh Brolin) is a soldier of the future that travels back in time to kill a mutant kid and becomes bitterly frustrated with Deadpool being an obstacle. This would’ve been enough for a buddy picture, but the film keeps stuffing in heroes. Deadpool takes a liking to Cable’s target of the overweight teenage mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison), but the kid is so cocky and stand-offish that their chemistry doesn’t have much time to develop. Not when Deadpool must also ally himself with Domino (Zazie Beetz), a hero whose superpower is plot armor. And while Colossus and Nega return from the previous film, their roles are so standard that they naturally become lost in the shuffle.

There’s a tightrope of typical superhero staging and self-aware silliness that Deadpool walks once more, and there’s a larger wobble this time around. There’s a bitter pathos to push Deadpool forward in his plight, but it comes with knowledgable spite for last year’s Logan pulling the same strings, of which Deadpool curses outright. A change of pace for the character is his desire to embrace the X-Men philosophy of no killing, but Wade still plays fast and loose with this logic, counterintuitive of his journey to better carve out a family.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Deadpool in Twentieth Century Fox’s DEADPOOL 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

And, wow, does the diversity angle feel so much like bullet-point lip-service, where the black Domino has no flaws, and the lesbian Nega has no character. It’d be nice to have a film where Deadpool coordinates a diverse collective, but everything is so tightly packed with little room to breathe that the inclusivity feels more like a quota, trying to appease everyone without exploring any one angle deeply. Let me know more about Domino’s tragic past without wedging it in at the last minute. Give Nega some better lines considering that her girlfriend, whose only interactions are saying hi to Deadpool, has more dialogue than she does. You wouldn’t even know Firefist has a problem with the perceptions of his weight if he hadn’t brought it up in conversation.

Yes, Deadpool 2 is still funny, especially with one of the most hilarious mid-credit sequences in recent memory. But most of the laughs are familiar ones, reiterating previous jokes and not landing as many original ones past the update of commenting on the current state of superhero cinema. It’s a bit sad that a film this satirical of the genre doesn’t realize it’s coming down with a severe case of sequel-itis, throwing far too many characters at the screen and hardly balancing any of them. There is levity and life in Deadpool, but it needs to start going that extra mile of absurdity in its awareness if it doesn’t want to become one of the lesser superhero franchises it loves to mock so much.

Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Colossus in Twentieth Century Fox’s DEADPOOL 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.


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