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Up in Smoke

By Jim Emerson

Cheech & Chong's first cannabis comedy is also their best, a souvenir from the more carefree days before "Just Say No," when people did not feel so defensive about inhaling. In 1978, the prevailing spirit was more like "Just Say Blow." Even New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael liked it (the movie, that is), adding that it was "an exploitation slapstick comedy, rather than a family picture, such as Blazing Saddles or High Anxiety--which means that it's dirtier, wilder, and sillier." The story has to do with bumbling potheads Cheech & Chong searching for primo bud, while being tailed by a team of inept law-enforcement officers, led by Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach). Sample dialogue: When a cop pulls them over to ask if they are any illegal substances in his vehicle, Cheech replies: "Not any more, man." Up in Smoke is an irresistibly silly and charming movie that--despite, or perhaps because of, the national furor over drug use--plays today like a relic from a bygone era, a sweeter, more open, more innocent period in our history.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Lou Adler

Stars: Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Stacy Keach, Tom Skerritt, Edie Adams, Strother Martin

Released: September 15, 1978

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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