Up in Smoke (1978)

Genres - Adventure, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Absurd Comedy, Buddy Film, Farce, Stoner Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 15, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Robert Firsching

Pot movies in general are usually tedious, insular affairs which are not particularly funny outside their target audience (namely, high people). This one is a hilarious exception, taking many of the best-known routines involving Pedro De Pacas (Richard "Cheech" Marin) and Man (Thomas Chong) and building them into a loosely knit episodic comedy that's a joy to watch. Much of Cheech and Chong's humor is based on improvisation, so there are dull patches, but far fewer than in their later films. There are also unforgettable supporting characters like the officious Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach), who ends up getting accidentally stoned and proclaiming "I'm the munchies," and June Fairchild as a woman so drug-addled that she greedily snorts Ajax, thinking it to be cocaine. It starts to come unraveled at the end, when the boys enter a punk rock band contest, but it is generally a hilarious, free-spirited antidote to conservative times. And as far as sending a bad message, it could be argued that anyone who looks at the Pedro and Man characters as life role-models probably doesn't need chemical help to be a loser.