With the news of Super Troopers 2, columnist Will Ashton reflects on past comedy sequels
I was delighted to hear Tuesday that Super Troopers 2, after years of development hell and failed word-of-mouth, was finally coming together — if just still in Indiegogo form.
As I reflected on the 2001 comedy getting a sequel, however, I thought back to all the other comedy sequels promised and delivered from 10- to 20-year-old properties, and sometimes older. The more I thought, the longer the list became and hurt my hopes.
A few weeks earlier, Kevin Smith revealed a sequel to his 1995 sophomore film Mallrats, and this was after he confirmed Clerks III would be filmed this summer. It was only a short period of time before this when Zoolander 2 was confirmed for next year. These were both after Beverly Hills Cop 4 was recently promised to be made, and let’s not forget about this Bill & Ted 3 talk either.
As fun as some of these movies were — I never cared much for Mallrats, while Beverly Hills Cop 3 was especially dour back in 1994 — how often does a comedy sequel work, especially after this many years after the fact? Toy Story 3 is an exception, of course, and while I enjoyed Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues more than most, I’ll admit I’m not eager to revisit it. And must we remember Dumb and Dumber To?
Comedy sequels rarely, if ever, live up to expectations. So that’s what makes all these returning comedy properties of late so interesting and disheartening. Even though each has its fans, of course, what are the chances any of these films actually end up good?
Smith’s last truly good film was, in my opinion, Clerks II back in 2006. Eddie Murphy, on the other hand, hasn’t made a good film in a decade, let alone a decent comedy. Ben Stiller has always been hit-or-miss, especially as a comedic lead, and I think Super Troopers is the only good Broken Lizard movie, even though Beerfest has its moments. I never saw Club Dread.
So while I’m sure Broken Lizard is passionate about its sequel, one must ask, as a fan, do we really expect this new Super Troopers to live up to hype?
Granted: without seeing any footage or reading any of the plans, I can’t thoroughly judge. But the problem with comedy sequels, more so than any other film continuation, is that comedy is lighting in a bottle.
A big reason The Hangover sequels didn’t work was that director Todd Phillips misunderstood what made the first one special. While the situations were ridiculous and the first film was somewhat high concept, the three oddball characters were somewhat relatable and always charming. They could be douchebags, but they weren’t outright assholes. The same can’t be said for the sequels, which sacrificed their humanity for overblown ideas and too many attempts to be edgy then dark.
This is one example, yet these kinds of problems are typical in all comedies. There are more bad movies than good ones, and there are especially more bad comedies than even decent ones. Comedy is hard, and it’s great to see something come from the yuck department that feels fresh and fun, but it’s often very rare.
Maybe Super Troopers 2, Mallrats 2, Clerks III or Zoolander 2 and the whole bunch end up at least OK, but the law of average is against their favor. While I champion for Super Troopers 2 getting made, I fear Broken Lizard’s shenanigans won’t make the cut.
Will Ashton is a senior studying journalism and a staff writer for TheCelebrityCafe.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @thewillofash.