Cheech & Chong may not have invented “stoner” comedy but they sure perfected it. With the exception of their 1985 album, Get out of my Room, I’ve never been a huge fan of their drug based humor. But for their legions of fans, the duo’s routines based on folks who toke the smoke, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong are legendary. There stand up routine, comedy albums and feature films made them one of the most popular comedy teams of the eighties.
Though their fifth film, 1983’s Still Smokin’ is considered by many to be their weakest, fans of the duo will likely find something about it to enjoy. Written by the guys and directed by Tommy, the film finds Cheech & Chong having been invited to a celebrity festival in honor of Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton. When a clueless Dutchman mistakes Cheech for Reynolds, he and Chong are given the A-list treatment. They find themselves ensconced in one of the finest hotels in Amsterdam, outfitted with every luxury money can buy.
Though the loose plot line has everyone believing Cheech is Burt Reynolds and Tommy agreeing to be Dolly Parton, Still Smokin’ is really just a vehicle for the comedy act to showcase some of their routines; some old, some new to the film. Sadly, much of the material is dull and unfunny. The E.T., the Extra-Testicle gag wasn’t funny the first time, but it goes on for about another five minutes of Cheech running around trying to get into a pretty maid’s skirt. The payoff to all of this is that she wears both Cheech and Chong out with her sexual prowess–that’s it? They also deliver a skit about homosexuals–one’s butch, one’s feminine–that unsurprisingly is far from politically correct but is shockingly boring.
Cheech & Chong fans will recognize a lot of the material in Still Smokin’, because the second half of the film finds them performing their live act. They volunteer to do so after the festival’s money goes missing. The concert footage includes the following routines and more: “Tourists at a Sex Show / Hey Margaret,” “Ralph And Herbie” and “Dopeathon ’82 (with Ashley Roachclip).”
If you are unfamiliar with Cheech & Chong, don’t watch Still Smokin’ as your initiation. The film is boring and tough to sit through. Instead of focusing on the counterculture shtick that made Cheech & Chong so funny to begin with, Still Smokin’ relies on character sketch retreads, that weren’t that funny to begin with. If you want to check out some vintage Cheech & Chong on film, I suggest picking up 1978’s Up in Smoke.
The anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen transfer looks okay but it’s far from pristine. There’s a fair amount of grain evident in some scenes and some minor print damage here and there indicating that more effort could have gone into cleaning up the picture a bit. That said, there aren’t any noticeable compression issues or difficulties with edge enhancement. Color reproduction is passable and detail levels are average for a fairly low budget film.
The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is clean and clear, though it is a bit on the flat side. Dialogue is audible but doesn’t have much resonance. However, the levels are well balanced and there aren’t any problems with background hiss or distortion to complain about.
The only extra on the DVD is the original theatrical trailer. The DVD also comes with the same 4-track CD of 80’s songs that’s being included with all of the I Love The 80’s DVDs, none of which are from this film.