Dir. by Tommy Chong - 1 hr. 39 min.
It's really hard to hold incoherence and a meandering pace against this movie, especially since you may or may not be in an incoherent and meandering state of mind when you enjoy it. I also can't really explain much of the plot, as it's not even secondary here. Instead, it's a series of connected skits (sort of) that exist just to be funny and entertaining, and definitely do not advance plot or story. It's Cheech and Chong, man!
So what's the good side to "Cheech & Chong's Next Movie?" There are some, actually. First, I was impressed with the fact that Cheech and Chong managed to stretch out a minimal story over 99 minutes. Seriously, there's not a lot going on, but it doesn't exactly drag as you might expect. Part of the reason for that is that they seem willing to let others get some. There's a scene at the welfare office that has Michael Winslow (that guy from the "Police Academy" movies that makes noises) doing his thing while Cheech tries to get frisky with a girl in the behind him, and Chong just sits and enjoys the show. It's a funny sequence, and despite it being somewhat of a non-sequitur, it makes sense in the context of a bunch of guys with nothing better to do than pass time at the welfare office. This movie also introduces Edie McClurg (whom you should know from a lot of stuff, but probably as the secretary from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"). Yes, Cheech and Chong get her stoned, and they get a lot of mileage out of that, as well.
But the biggest secondary part belongs to Paul Reubens. Yes, Pee-Wee Herman is a character in this movie, years before he'd get his own movies and TV show. Reubens plays a hotel clerk, naturally at odds with Cheech (playing a second role, a cousin of Cheech's normal character) and Chong. At one point, frustrated with the fact that the police won't help him out, he claims that they look like Iranians (this, on the heels of the Iranian hostage crisis), which seemingly brings out the entire police force. They end up hauling Reubens in, though. Later in the film, Reubens does Pee-Wee in a comedy club scene. He gets frustrated at Cheech & Chong's heckling, which leads to impromptu comedy bits from Cheech, Chong, and McClurg. So, credit where credit is due - Cheech & Chong do let other comedians have their moments, which adds to the finished product.
I did kind of enjoy this one, although it's not on par with "Up in Smoke." Part of it may be that there's not a level of freshness to the characters, but that's what happens over time. On the other hand, they do know their audience, and deliver exactly what their fans want. I respect that; hitting your nail squarely on the head is nothing to be ashamed of.
2.5 / 5 - NF Streaming