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Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske

Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Written by: Broken Lizard
Produced by: Richard Perello, Peter Lengyel
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

US: 15/02/02 UK: 15/11/02

Thorny, Rabbit, Mac and Foster are Vermont State Troopers. Stationed on the Canadian border, they spend the bulk of their time playfully toying with speeders and taking impounded sports cars for spins on the open highway. When they're not on the road, they try to stay on the good side of their fatherly mentor, Captain O'Hagan, and avoid their tactless, thick-necked compatriot, Officer Rod Farva. All in all, they find their work to be pleasantly unchallenging. However, once the state targets their low volume station for a potential budget slash, the guys decide to buckle down to impress the higher ups. Things look bleak until, unexpectedly, the State Troopers' new "by the book" attitude uncovers a drug smuggling operation running across the border to Canada. Sensing salvation, the Troopers race the clock to crack the ring and save their jobs. But they aren't the only ones in the hunt...

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Dave Reviews Out Loud/
Ebert & Roeper

"Are yer gonna come quietly - or are yer gonna laugh?"

Harking back to those good-natured-yet-rude 1980s comedies (Caddyshack anyone?), this entertainingly goofy film keeps us laughing while keeping its characters real; there's not a whiff of knowing postmodern cynicism anywhere. It's about a group of practical joking Vermont State Troopers (captain Cox, leader Chandrasekhar, loverboy Soter, moron Heffernan, rookie Stolhanske and madman Lemme), fighting to keep their jobs amid statewide budget crunches. They try to be serious about their work, but find that rather difficult ... and pointless. But they also know they need to outsmart the local police chief (Von Bargen) if they want to preserve their careers. And stumbling upon a marijuana smuggling operation couldn't happen at a better time.

The five writer-actors work under the name Broken Lizard, and their ensemble performance is hilarious, bouncing off each other perfectly with offhanded humour and big jokes that hit the mark simply because they never stretch the realms of credibility (much). The plot itself is virtually irrelevant, but at least it doesn't insult the intelligence as it provides a framework to let the actors cut loose with their zany antics. Some of this isn't nearly as funny as the performers obviously thought it was, although there's a wonderfully warped undercurrent that peeks out every now and then. The film is very slight and forgettable, never even attempting the feel of a classic comedy. It merely tries to keep us chuckling for 101 minutes. And that it does. s



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