The genetic fingerprints of Firesign Theatre are faintly detectable in the DNA of Broken Lizard, the comedy group behind Super Troopers. Like their forebears, the guys — all guys, dude, who bonded as Colgate University students — ground their deadpan pranks in a very American illogic distinguishable from the very British illogic of Monty Python by an utter lack of interest in the intricacies of class differences and an utter fascination with stoner thinking. But where the agile anarchy of Firesigners rewarded audience erudition, the Lizards are happy to remain proudly, patriotically shallow.
Well, that’s my thesis and I’m sticking with it about this scattershot, hit-and-often-miss comedy, a shaggy story about a group of Vermont state troopers with a particularly blithe attitude toward their jobs. The mostly mustachioed men in this frat-brained unit (played by Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, and Jay Chandrasekhar, who also sort of directed, or at least called action! and cut!) would rather goof on a carload of pot-smoking college kids than ticket them. But they do pull it together when it comes to competing rudely with their rivals in uniform, the Spurbury local police.
With the Lizards’ propensity for basking stupidly in the sun, their talents are greatly enhanced by the addition of canny Brian Cox (”L.I.E.”) as the troopers’ commander, and Daniel Von Bargen (”O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) as the Spurbury chief of police. On the other hand, that they’re not inspired in the least by the participation of combat-ready ”Freddy Got Fingered” costar Marisa Coughlan as a police dispatcher is no surprise: In comedy societies like these, where boys joke competively about the size of their equipment, girls are mysteries that confound the reptilian brain.