Talk about a perfect example of a film that critics hated while audiences loved. This is a total cult fave and its legend has not gone away despite the fact that it is 40 years old.
After getting over an initial misunderstanding, Pedro (Cheech Marin – From Dusk Till Dawn, Tin Cup) and the Man (Tommy Chong – Zootopia, Yellowbeard) end up together in a car driving through California looking for some weed to smoke. You can guess what is coming next. The two potheads, very innocently, find themselves in some trouble and, due to an error, deported to Mexico.
Not only do they want to get back to the U.S. they also have a gig to perform in that evening. Without known truly what they are getting into, the two agree to drive a vehicle – made out of marijuana – across the border. They manage to get back to the United States, pick up two female hitchhikers and slowly go about making their way to their band’s show. On their tails is the police, though once again they are kinda oblivious to that.
A total road/buddy comedy film. These two, by the time they filmed this in 1978, had really honed their stoner-slacker personas. Getting high and how they are going to do that is pretty much what this film is about. Nothing fancy going on here. The film just moves forward, slowly and in a relaxed way. With some verbal and slapstick comedy thrown in for good measure.
Basically this whole film is just an excuse for Cheech and Chong to do some drug skits. There is really just a skin and bones story here. That’s not to say that what goes on for the most part isn’t a whole lot of fun. Because in the right mind frame and circumstances, Up in Smoke is plenty of laughs. Truly makes you today look back fondly at the 70s and think it was a fun decade to be alive in.
Totally a low budget affair, but that did not matter to fans. It did so well that it spawned a series of follow up films. None of which live up to the original Up in Smoke.