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Super Troopers

Given their recent track record, I’d say that the guys behind Broken Lizard really went all out for their first major film.

Their subsequent movie, Club Dread, was awful. Not funny and not well written.

Beerfest was alright. It has a lot of solid laughs, but it often falls prey to itself—though, admittedly, it’s probably hard to make a hour and a half long film consisting of beer jokes.

But Super Troopers, their inaugural effort, definitely wins them my vote of confidence. They use the whole “cop film” spoof idea and then run the car into a sea of non-sequiturs and oddities.

See, instead of it just being a typical cop spoof, or a cop comedy, it makes good attempts at combining the two. There are some pretty good fight scenes and it makes clear early on who the bad guys are.

The only problem, however, is the middle of the film. It lags at points around the hour mark because the plot gets too heavy for their comedy. The jokes become sparse because they have to explicate some things to keep the movie afloat, and that makes it feel almost convoluted until everything subtextual is resolved. Then, it’s back to good clean drunk-cop-jokes.

Granted, this is a problem that many comedies face—the fact of the matter is that many styles of comedy cannot hold up against a heavy plot.

Take for example 2007’s Superbad. I remember reading glowing reviews saying how funny it was in the beginning and end, but, through the middle, it sagged. Sagged, essentially, between the two times that Jonah Hill gets hit by a car. Everything is scattered about and the jokes become haphazardous as they attempt to stay funny in the midst of some plot conflicts.

That might even be the toughest part about comedy: keeping everything afloat with having one element—especially one as basic as plot—keep the other element from faltering.

I think this is why so many dark comedies sustain through such moments in a film. If you look at any of Wes Anderson or Noah Baumbach’s works, which are darkly comic, they’re able to withstand the points where, inevitably, plot ties get heavier and heavier. It’s probably because the starkness and straight-forwardness of the humor is what keeps it afloat.

Anyway, back to Super Troopers. Aside from the prototypical comic lag through the middle parts, this movie really hits on some key notes of funny with me. The jokes are spot on with my sense of “what the fuck” humor, and many of the gags are delivered with such a straight face that you have to laugh.

This movie is just plain weird-funny.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

So I’m super late on this one, but fuck you.

This movie is Jason Segal’s first leading role after having a bit part in Knocked Up–I can’t remember if he was in any other Apatow movies. And he does a pretty good job.

So this movie essentially bucks the trend of a romantic comedy somewhat in that it’s not boy-meets-girl, boy-gets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-keeps-girl. Or so you think. I mean, it ends up being that way, but only from the second storyline of Not Sarah Marshall as played by Mila Kunis.

In the Sarah Marshall storyline it’s: boy-loses-girl, girl-tries-to-get-boy-back-but-he-is-still-ridiculously-heart-broken, fin. And this is a good thing because, as the movie goes on, we realize that Sarah Marshall is a shallow bitch who was only dating the Rock Star because he was more famous.

And oh the Rock Star character. He reminds me a little too much of Devendra Banhart, but he’s also funny sometimes. I couldn’t pin down whether he was English or a Kiwi but it turns out he was English–and not doing a very good accent. He’s pompous and famous and probably a little gay. The actor did a good job.

But as I write this, trying to force out character descriptions, I can’t help but think of the main flaw of this movie: length. It sags under its own weight in the middle and even Jonah Hill’s character gets annoying (and he’s one of my favorite actors). There is too much time spent on ancillary characters and it results in the movie feeling overlong and completely forced. Throughout the center, as with Knocked Up and Superbad and Dewey Cox, there is a sense of “when is this shit going to end?” because you have already established everything you need to establish in order to take the story on towards climax and denouement and yet the movie chugs on, fleshing things out that need not be fleshed out.

However, if you can look past the minor characters that get too much screentime, you’ll be able to have a good time watching this movie. Mila Kunis, in what seems to be her first major role on film, does an excellent job as the rebound and new love interest that takes Segal’s mind off of the blonde bitch.

Everyone played their parts well, and there are a lot of solid jokes that keep you laughing, but there is just too much for this movie.

And, yes, I know, I seem to be blowing the horn that every other goddam movie reviewer blew, but maybe they were right when they said it. So fuck you.