Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke Lou Adler

Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke Lou Adler
You’d expect that a cheaply knocked-off movie about a couple of guys smoking grass would be stupid, boring and unfunny but something inexplicable happens in Up in Smoke to make it not just funny but hilarious. Cheech and Chong show more self-awareness than your average stoner comedians — though they’re clearly in love with the wacky tobaccy, they’re neither tediously sanctimonious about its powers nor ignorant to the ludicrous behaviour it engenders. Thus the stars meet up one day, get high, check in with a ’Nam vet dealer (Tom Skerritt), dodge some busts and are pursued by humorously humourless cop Sgt. Stedenko (a sublime Stacy Keach). Not much of a plot, granted, just the genuinely aimless comedy of furry freaks making surreal fools of themselves and enjoying it. And for all of its low-budget clumsiness, it’s executed surprisingly well. Not a particularly aggressive jab at "the establishment,” the film decides to abstain from straight behaviour rather than mount an offensive, and that generosity of spirit makes it highly unusual in the attack mode mentality of most comedy. The stars were never better than in their film debut, and if they peaked early the peak was pretty, um, high. Extras begin with a commentary by Cheech Marin and director Lou Adler; it doesn’t yield much information beyond who was related to which extra and the occasional anecdote about Jack Nicholson. A tiny "making of” featurette interviews Marin, Chong and Adler, who give an interesting but too-brief glimpse into their process. As well, a cheesy CGI video for the immortal "Earache My Eye” is unfunny and badly animated. Rounding things out are eight deleted scenes, some radio spots and a two-minute re-edit of the movie containing all the times someone says "man.” (Paramount)