Saturday, May 12, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 14 - STILL SMOKIN (1983)

- Rated R for nudity, drug material, and some strong language including sexual references.
- Starring = Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong
- Written by Cheech & Chong
- Directed by Thomas Chong
- Running time: 1hr 30min

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)

I have never been a Cheech and Chong fan.  I've seen both UP IN SMOKE and NEXT MOVIE, and I think they're incredibly unfunny.  I don't smoke weed either, so maybe that's the problem,  though I have enjoyed a few stoner comedies in the past (like HALF BAKED). 

This one has the pot smoking duo traveling to Amsterdam to attend a Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton film festival, only to be mistaken for those two stars.  Yes, really.  Once the festival organizers realize that they're Cheech & Chong, they panic.  But since Burt and Dolly couldn't make it, the stoners decide to put on a concert to raise money for them.  Most of the movie is just them hanging out (acting like retards, sorry mentally handicapped) as they try to work out routines for the shows.

I think most fans don't even like this one, and they're right not to.  This is awful stuff.  It seems like in real life, Cheech & Chong got to travel to Amsterdam to put on a show and decided to bring along a 35mm camera and shoot a bunch of improvised bits. Including... Cheech pretended to be E.T in order to grope a maid, a wrestling match between them and an invisible wrestler, we get to see them as very unfunny crossdressers, Cheech surrounding himself with naked women in a sauna, and tons of drug related humor.  Next time, they should write something that's funny.

The finale, which is essentially their stand-up act, is strangely devoid of laughs.  The comedy duo just do bad impersonations, and embarrassing cringe-worthy gags.  I can't believe people would pay to see them on stage.  There was one bit that I found amusing and it had Cheech doing a pretty spot on Richard Pryor impersonation and Chong playing a southern cop (who sounded like Billy Bob Thornton).  I chuckled once or twice there.  But besides that, it's shockingly unfunny, like a bit that has them playing dogs.  What? 

For the first half of the movie, it didn't even seem like they were trying to be funny, as they were just talking to each other hanging out, unless they were just counting on their natural presence to be humorous alone(which it's not).  For an example of how unfunny they were, there's a scene that has Cheech doing a stand-up act in a dive bar as a redneck cowboy.  The extras are not laughing.  They look very disappointed.  But the soundtrack is full of canned laughter that doesn't match the audiences closed mouths.  Wow!

Okay, I get that pot humor has a certain following and that I'm not the target audience.  But you would think Cheech & Chong would have at least a small idea of what is funny and what is not funny.  Simply acting like a spastic 8 year old doesn't mean it's humorous.  After working with each other for many years, this should have been a tight film.  But it's lazy, tired and painfully laugh free. 

* (out of ****)

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