Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (Tommy Chong, 1981)
The third in the C&C series has the two dopey good natured stoners getting rich selling marijuana off their ice cream truck… and if the last one showed a bit of strain, well… adventure #3 is a further step in that direction, with them moving further away from any kind of social observations (which you could say were secondary, but did provide a certain foundation for at least the first one) into even more silly territory. It feels like they got stoned and just went on these tangents that often lead to some really random and bizarre ideas (including the welcome return of the duo’s nemesis from Up in Smoke, the now totally zonked out Sgt. Stedenko, whose familiar incompetent underlings never seem to notice he’s smoking up all the seized contraband… including the odd batch that is inexplicably turning him into a lizard, complete with tail by the end).
Cheech’s reoccurring hot Latina girl Donna appears yet again (played again with such gusto by Evelyn Guerrero, I had to look her up to see if she was also a comedian to discover she wasn’t… along with the semi-interesting, whatever it’s worth tidbit that she was married for 12 years, right up until his death, to the “Karate Kid’s master, Pat Morita), this time leading him by the nose (well, more like the penis) down a rabbit hole of drugged out circumstances with him eventually stuck sans even a stitch of clothing from an exterior glass elevator with his nut sack in the face of a group of horrified old ladies (C&C certainly like to nakedly show off how fit they were in these films as part of the gags). Paul Reubens also comes back after his dual stint on the last film, struggling again in a maniacal role as a coke-snorting mental patient that doesn’t really give many signs of the rise to Pee Wee Herman status to come (but I did enjoy the restaurant scene in which he’s introduced that also includes the charmingly amusing random moment of an annoying female record producer mistaking Chong for the Grateful Dead’s Gerry Garcia).
Lots of crude, scatological humor along the way (I know, who would have thought), with some being mouth-grinningly funny and others eye-rolling flat… but even when it fails, I somehow still don’t mind following these two oblivious stoners on their anti-authoritarian exploits.
I can’t decide if the end scenes of Cheech ending up in a mental ward on a very absurd and odd LSD trip administered by a crazed doctor played by the infamous ‘turn on/drop out’ acid guru of the time Timothy Leary are a creatively inspired high for the duo, or a terribly ill-conceived low… but… ah, it’s Cheech and Chong. As with an acid trip, better to just roll with it.