Cheech and Chong's Next Movie

Cheech and Chong's Next Movie

D: Thomas Chong (1980); with Chong, Cheech Marin, Edie McClurg, Paul Reubens.

Drug humor aside, Cheech and Chong are frequently understated in the annals of comedy. This film proves it. Although several bits are dated, the duo's chemistry (then at its peak) and flair for peripheral comic touches make it a worthwhile B-rental. There's not much of a story, just the daily adventures of two irresponsible, sloppy stoners. Their house is probably not unlike most male college students' (beer bottles in the aquarium, dirty clothes in the fridge), and their work ethic is clouded by what little dope they can scrape out of the cookie jar. "This is the fifth time I've been late to work this week," moans Cheech. "And it's only Tuesday." The scenes of Chong loitering around the house, playing guitar and generally being a degenerate, are quite humorous, as is the duo's satirical venture to the welfare office. The film takes a turn when Cheech readies himself for an ill-fated date and Chong parties the night away with cousin Red from Texas (also played by Cheech). The two stumble in and out of massage parlors, mansions, and comedy clubs, and we're able to see the debuts of Paul Reubens (doing his Pee-Wee Herman routine) and a fairly obnoxious Edie McClurg. As the film progresses, it deteriorates into sheer absurdity, with Chong and Red lighting joint after joint, causing slapstick catastrophes and walking away unharmed. The first hour, however, shows some deft writing and funny performances. If anything, the movie is a sign of the times, when hippie hedonism was suddenly confined to ghetto life and yuppie conservatism was on the rise. Above all, it's a look back at a once-amusing comedy team whose forays into bathroom humor, politics, and drug-addled decadence are often just as funny nearly 20 years later.

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