Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Cinema File #172: "Cheech And Chong's Animated Movie" Review


Every year we seem to get a series of double features, where two movies with similar premises come out very close to each other, though neither can really be said to be copying the other. The classic example is Armageddon and Deep Impact, but the last few years this trend has gotten more and more esoteric in terms of the plots being doubled. Last year we got two Snow White movies and two Hitchcock related movies, and this year already we have two movies about the Whitehouse under siege by terrorists, and coming soon two films about a dystopian Earth watched over by a city in the clouds (Oblivion and Elysium). Who knew we'd also get two low budget flash animated movies featuring pot centric comedy duos that haven't been in a movie in years? In all of these cases, the question always becomes "which one is better?" and while I have not yet seen Jay And Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, after seeing Cheech And Chong's Animated Movie, it doesn't look like Smith and company have too high a hill to climb.


The first time I ever heard of the comedy duo Cheech And Chong was in the classic season four episode of The Simpsons called "The Front," which I saw way back when it originally aired in 1993 when I was only eight years old. The context of the reference was a class reunion attended by Homer and Marge, in which the class clown recounted the famous "Dave's Not Here" bit, which I no doubt had to ask my parents about to get clarification. Years later, after the The Simpsons had become as over the hill as Cheech and Chong were when that original reference was made, that joke seemed to be the inspiration for an entire episode in which the two aging comedians would guest star as themselves, which is to say, the actors Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, also playing the characters Cheech and Chong.


The thing is, the first time Cheech And Chong were ever brought up on the show, the first time I had ever heard their names, the joke was about how dated their humor was, and twenty or so years later, that joke was only compounded as the two would attempt to get one last gasp of relevance on a show that had itself become as dated as they were in 1993. I'd say the meta is killing me, but now Cheech And Chong are animated once again, and I'm pretty sure the reason I'm slowly dying inside is because I just watched Cheech And Chong's Animated Movie, a sad, tired attempt by two fake comic stoners to tap into a new audience by recycling their old unfunny material, routines that weren't even funny at the time let alone now 40 years later, into a cheaply toonified clip show atrocity that I would not wish on my worst enemy.


You've probably noticed by now that I've went on for three paragraphs without actually going into any details about the movie itself, and the reason for that is because I am doing everything in my power not to have to re-live the horrible experience. This movie raped my soul. That's the only way I can describe it. This goes beyond not finding any of it funny, past the point of feeling sorry for the people involved or angry that they would unleash something like this onto the world, and into a whole new universe of suck that I have heretofore never witnessed. Don't get me wrong, I'm also both sad for these two elderly comics and angry at them, but more than that, I'm just mystified that they still live in a world where they think this is passable as entertainment.


I've never listened to the albums upon which the various skits in this film are based, and have no experience with the comedy stylings of Cheech and Chong outside of a few of the movies I've seen, but I don't want you to think that I disliked this film purely because I am not of the generation to which these references might appeal nostalgically. If anyone who is still alive to remember finding this stuff funny at the time still finds it funny now in this new re-packaged form, I would be incredibly surprised. If I had to guess, I'd say this movie is Cheech and Chong's attempt at turning their old comedy bits into a feature length South Park episode, but based solely on the erroneous understanding held by so many older people who don't get South Park that it is nothing but fart jokes and lewdness, and that that's what its audience finds appealing. And that, in a stoner humor context, is all that this movie is.


While there is technically no story here, merely a loosely connected series of old routines that haven't been updated since the 70's (when they still sucked), the closest thing to a narrative thread follows a crab (as in the venereal disease variety), who leaps from a woman's vagina and seeks to invade Tommy Chong's beard to suck out his THC infused blood. Are you laughing hysterically at the mere mental image of that, perhaps rolling on the floor, clutching your sides, and struggling to breathe? No? What if I told you they fart about twenty times and smoke a lot of weed? Nothing? I fucking dare you to laugh at this movie. Seriously, just try to find something even the least bit entertaining. No, scratch that, try to find something even appealing or watchable.


If like me you're not a big fan of drug humor, bathroom humor, or things that lack humor, than you do not want to see this movie. If you are the biggest fan in the world of drug humor, bathroom humor, and the lack of humor, than you do not want to see this movie. If you are a masochist on the level of that guy from Hellraiser who summoned the Cenobites to put chains in his face because he'd experienced all the pain life had to offer up to that point, trust me, you still do not want to see this movie. This movie is the cinematic equivalent of the visceral reaction you get when you learn about that one weird sexual fetish where dude's like to get spikes shoved into their pee holes. If you're just now learning about that, or hadn't thought about it in a while, that feeling you have right now is what I am feeling thanks to Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie. And if you've got the kind of skewed mindset where that shit turns you on, believe me, you still don't want to see this movie!
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