Wednesday, November 22, 2006

[1980] CHEECH & CHONG'S NEXT MOVIE: For the first half hour I was completely writing this thing off--all of the stuff with Cheech and Chong at home or in the van is painfully unfunny. The schtick with their straightlaced neighbor is awful. But from around the time where Chong goes off to meet Cheech's cousin (Cheech doing like a Texan (?) version of the Cheech character) and Pee Wee Herman enters the picture the film becomes surreal and sort of interesting. Chong (who directed) shot everything pretty evenly, there's no hint from the direction about when you're supposed to laugh, or even if there's something funny going on. So you get these lengthy static shots where they're doing their gags and the other characters totally have the giggles at whatever they do and one gets the idea the movie is not about being funny, it's about accurately representing the stoner experience. And I like the movie during these parts. There's this amazing scene in the welfare office that's mostly in one take where Cheech is seducing his girlfriend in the background and in the foreground Michael Winslow is breaking out the sound effects and Chong is bemused and there's a crazy old man who won't stop laughing--bizarre stuff. But the obvious gags mostly fell flat for me--I think they're really bad at slapstick.

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