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  Cheech and Chong's Next Movie High There
Year: 1980
Director: Tommy Chong
Stars: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Evelyn Guerrero, Betty Kennedy, Sy Kramer, Rikki Marin, Edie McClurg, Bob McClurg, Paul Reubens, Michael Winslow, Cassandra Peterson, Rita Wilson
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cheech (Cheech Marin) and Chong (Tommy Chong) have devised a way to get a few gallons of gasoline for their car without paying, and that is to take a bin, head over to the gas station and fill it up through siphoning from another truck. Along the way they grow scared that they will be noticed, but they don't get caught and are soon pouring the fuel into the back of their car - and over each other as well. By the time the duo are driving, Chong has rolled a joint and when he lights it he naturally causes an explosion. No matter, it wasn't really their car anyway...

For the follow up to Up in Smoke, Cheech and Chong offered up this less ramshackle, more polished version of their adventures. That's not to say it was a glossy, commercial product, but their was less amateurism this time around, and sad to say fewer laughs as well. Apparently believing that plots were for squares, they scripted a rambling series of sketches that saw their alter egos get into various improbable scrapes, and all in the pursuit of getting high.

At least you couldn't accuse them of being pretentious, as in fact pricking pretention is one of the pasttimes of the characters, intentionally or not. See the treatment of their uptight neighbour (it was his car, incidentally), who ends up fuming with rage at their antics, whether it's playing deafening and drawn out guitar solos or destroying his roses with motorbike exhaust. Chong doesn't have a job here, and Cheech loses his early on, so their means of support is taken away from them.

This prompts a trip to the welfare offices (the backgrounds we saw in Up in Smoke have no bearing on what happens in the sequel) where Cheech's would be girlfriend Donna (Evelyn Guerrero) works - she likes him at the start of the film, anyway. This sequence enjoys the welcome appearance of Michael Winslow, you know, the guy from Police Academy who makes all the noises? He turns out to be far better value in five minutes than Cheech and Chong are in their entire movie.

Also appearing is an up and coming Paul Reubens, both in civilian gear and as Pee Wee Herman, which may be a point of interest for his fans. As for the title comedians, they bumble through the film although are "separated" for half of it, thanks to Chong going off to meet Cheech's cousin Red, also played by Marin. Red takes Chong out on the trip of a lifetime, leading to a Close Encounters finale which makes one ponder that this duo have been overtaken by funnier comedies in similar vein that came after, like Dude, Where's My Car? for example. For that reason Next Movie is now more of an artefact, of historical interest, but it might still make you laugh if you're as high as they are. You're better to stick with the first one, though. Music by Mark Davis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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