Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke ★★★★½

UP IN SMOKE is the classic stoner comedy. I would be hard pressed to find another film that has same feel and is as funny as this one. It could be my age, but I have trouble relating to FRIDAY, HOW HIGH or any of the other ones that have come out since this.
Both in character and in form this movie perfectly captures the experience. The movie is less plot driven than situation based, being as shapeless and shifting as the mental state of its heroes. The best part is that each of the moments are charged with so much spot on observational humor. Just look at the opening scene where Cheech is woken up by children turning on loud cartoons and jumping on him. The atmosphere of this scene tells you everything you need to know about this character and his lifestyle. The other great thing is that the comedy is so good natured that even though these guys are often doing selfish and illegal things it is never mean spirited or demeaning.
The characters of Cheech and Chong are so fully realized that the movie is able to drop us right into the action. It is obvious that Marin and Chong had long worked out how to play these two and their timing together and their chemistry really shines. Cheech is all childlike bravado and enthusiasm. Chong is more worldly, yet so casual that he is always game for anything happening. I like these two so much that I am happy to follow them through the film and root for their success.
The sloppiness of the film does catch up to it during the final half and too much time is spent on the police that are following them. The final fifteen minutes run out of steam with no real new ideas to carry it through. It still does not take away the goodwill that the picture had earned up to that point.
Its a classic.