Stoners get a bad rap for a group that’s given us Ben & Jerry’s, all modern music and Barack Obama. But when it comes to stoner comedy that lazy reputation may be deserved, if we’re being blunt.
The original stoner comedy movie, Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke follows a bumbling pair of potheads (Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin) as they accidentally smuggle a van made entirely of marijuana across the Mexico-US border, and was presumably mistaken for a documentary when Donald Trump saw it. The emphasis is firmly on “stoner” over “comedy”, with actual gags confined to homeopathic quantities, and dead animals the butt of the joke on more than one occasion. Way to harsh our mellow.
More of the would-be humour comes from Cheech being inexplicably dressed as a stoned Misty from Pokémon (or should that be Tokémon) and the two of them ending every sentence with the word “man”, and if you think I’m exaggerating just know that IMDb counts 295 utterances. Matters aren’t helped by Cheech and Chong appearing notably less likeable than other druggy duos like Bill and Ted or Shaggy and Scooby.
On the plus side there’s a good soundtrack featuring Low Rider by War, along with welcome appearances from Tom Skerritt and Stacy Keach, which makes this Keach and Cheech and Chong. But with a hash of a script and jokes that feel like dregs, Up in Smoke will struggle to hold the attention of even the most attentive burnout. Hey stoners: aim higher, man.