- Movie Rating -

Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981)

| June 5, 1981

The overriding problem with Cheech and Chong’s cinematic adventures is that as their films have gotten more and more popular the comic inspiration seems to have hit a dry well.  I haven’t exactly been the biggest fans of their previous adventures but I can say that at least they have garnered some measure of laughs or at the very least a smile from me.  I can’t say that about Nice Dreams, a 91-minute comedy that generated one actual laugh.  One

It takes place toward the end of the movie and doesn’t even involve Cheech or Chong.  It involves a comedian named Michael Winslow whose schtick is that he can make various sounds with his mouth.  In this case, he is a patient in a mental ward doing a pretty good impression of Jimi Hendrix using a broomstick in place of the guitar.  That scene lasts about 40 seconds and then Winslow is gone from the movie.  I didn’t laugh again.  Didn’t even smile.

That is not from lack of enthusiasm.  There is something in Cheech’s manic body language that gives me reason to want to laugh, something in his delivery.  Unfortunately, it yields flat results.  I’m not laughing at him this time.  He and Tommy Chong (who directed again) find themselves in a much more structured but far less effective plot that has them driving all over Los Angeles meeting a massively unfunny assortment of weirdos, screaming meemies and dumbbells all while unknowingly being at the center of a massive sting operation put forth by the LAPD and the FBI.

Okay . . . I kind of smiled at an accumulating gag involving the police sergeant (Stacy Keach) who locks himself in his office and smokes some of C&C’s product – an herb that is turning human beings into reptiles.  The joke doesn’t accumulate properly and we see Keach occasionally with green skin or webbed toes.  The joke doesn’t work because the timing is off.  It takes way too long to get to its inevitable conclusion.

Look, I love a good stupid comedy as much as the next guy but I largely sat stone-faced through this movie.  Chong’s method is to simply let his character talk and talk and talk and talk while hoping that something funny comes out of their wackiness.  The problem is that is doesn’t seem to have a beginning or an end.  He just lets his actors flop around, climb under tables and warble on and on until they are finished talking.  It’s a wearying kind of approach that simply doesn’t work.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized