The Internet hype campaign for sneaked in at the tail end of the crowdfunding gold rush in 2015, and that timing might have made all the difference. Crowdfunding fatigue is alive and well, after all, with the practice significantly dropping off since its mid-’10s heyday. Who knows if the Broken Lizard comedy troupe would have raised over $4.6 million if they’d launched the effort even half a year later?
What, then, did fans help create by way of an Indiegogo campaign? Exactly what Broken Lizard promised: “the version of you’ve been waiting for.” Consider that a blessing or a curse, depending on your comedy point of view, but there’s just no getting around how spiritually faithful this sequel is to the silly-cops original. More important, however, is that this crowdfunded film does bend to the simplest catchphrase and old-gag doldrums you might expect. Just because Broken Lizard took fans’ money doesn’t mean the comics were stuck repeating material from the 2001 film.
The result is an easy call for best crowdfunded film in recent memory. That’s a low bar to clear, of course, and is by no means a perfect film. But its ingeniously orchestrated stupidity—like a Jackson Pollack painting made up of cop pranks and hard-R visual gags—is must-see stuff for anybody who liked the first film.
Up until this point, 2014’s film arguably held this tiny niche’s top spot after its own $5.7 million Kickstarter campaign, but that film leaned too hard into making sure its source series’ original cast was well represented. You could argue that nearly makes the same mistake, as Broken Lizard’s primary cast falters a bit with its comedic timing and punchiness as the movie careens along. (You may barely notice, however, based solely on how the opening scene, filled with real-life, Wile E. Coyote-caliber visual gags, plays out.)
‘s conceit makes up for this by giving room to an entirely new cast of doofuses. The first film’s painfully unqualified state troopers return after a vaguely referenced fall from grace. They get a new shot at redemption: the American border is about to be redrawn to incorporate a Canadian border town into Vermont, and authorities are desperate for cops to assist with the transition. Thus, Vermont’s finest must face off against weird, oafish Canadians, complete with comedically terrible fake accents, overwrought Mountie outfits, and comedy-rich cultural rivalries.
Beyond that broadening of source material, the sequel also does well to let iconic moron Farva (Kevin Heffernan) take a lead comedic position this time around. It’s an interesting balance: that the script and film direction respect the character much more, while making sure his police peers do respect him in the slightest. The troopers’ nearly sociopathic slapstick is the series’ hallmark, after all, and this sequel doubles down on that quality (and reminds us that classics like and did leave some stones unturned).
Going into further detail about ‘s impact and successes would give away the best moments and hearty-laugh build-ups. I went into a preview screening oblivious about which new and returning actors would appear, for example, and was happier for the surprise. (Two spoiler-free words for those who see the movie and come back to the comments section: “punching bag.” I’m still laughing about it.) The same goes for criticizing the gags and concepts that drag on a bit too long, particularly one that eventually weighs down Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar), both figuratively and literally.
That’s about as tolerable an issue as I could imagine for this sequel. The first worked in the same way, with its most insane moments making up for issues with pacing and comedy clichés. A recap viewing of the original on DVD will likely answer how much you’ll enjoy this sequel.