In 2001, a movie called Super Troopers was released in America. The creative force behind it was an unknown Canadian comedy troupe called Broken Lizard. The movie was a ribald, juvenile romp. It was a throwback to the glory days of 80s comedy, when most movies’ comedic goal was to be as lewd and show as many bare breasts as possible. Super TroopersSuper Troopershardly an impression on anyone.
When Super Troopers was released on video, however, it started to catch on. Teenage boys began to rent it in droves, and realized it was probably the funniest, most gloriously low-brow and lewd movie to come along in quite a while.
Now, in 2004, Super Troopers is a full-fledged cult classic, and Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Eric Stolhanske and Paul Soter) have finally released their long awaited follow-up. The good news is Club Dread is very funny and it should please fans of Broken Lizard’s earlier work. The bad news is it falls short of Super Troopers, and this could conceivably cause some sort of backlash against the filmmakers.
Club Dread is a sometimes a bizarre fusion of Animal House and Scream. It deals with an island singer suspiciously similar to Jimmy Buffett named Coconut Pete, (Bill Paxton) who has opened up a resort for vacationing college students on a remote island. Everything starts out fine and dandy. Kids are getting drunk, having lots of sex and generally acting obnoxious-just like one would expect. Then, a bizarre looking killer in a Tiki mask and a poncho starts picking them off rapidly. It is up to the staff of the resort (the Broken Lizard guys in various roles), aerobics instructor Jenny (Brittany Daniel) and a guest named Penelope, (Jordan Ladd) to unmask the killer before they all get killed. This is all really of no consequence. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Fans of Broken Lizard will be at this movie to see at least one young woman take her shirt off, and hear lots of silly, quotable lines they can all memorize.
This leads into the big problem with the movie. For a comedy, it is entirely too plot-driven and sometimes serious. There are many times when the horror element takes over and the viewers may even be confused as to what type of film they are watching. Broken Lizard are to be applauded for trying something a little different with their second major effort, but the honest truth is it does not always work too well. There is a moment towards the end of the film when a man is cut in half, and his top half, from the waist up, continues to exist for another several minutes. This moment is so off the wall, Monty Python-style funny, it leaves the viewer wishing these guys hadn’t played so much of the movie so straight. If they had inserted more moments like this, Club Dread could have been more memorable than Super Troopers.
As it stands however, this is still a pretty good effort, probably worthy of a rental and nothing more. Hopefully with their next movie, Broken Lizard will regain the spark that made Super Troopers one of the most highly-regarded comedies of the last few years.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.