Are we just being paranoid, or does Hollywood not make these comedies like it used to?


There’s a funky haze hanging over this month’s DVD releases. First, we’ve got Seth Rogen’s spliff-smoking extraterrestrial in Paul. Then there are James Franco and Danny McBride’s doobie-toking medieval dimwits in Your Highness. It’s enough to make you hungry for a burrito. But as the bong-friendly new Blu-ray bows of Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and The Big Lebowski show, it’s hard to top the classics. Hence our righteous roundup of cannabis comedies old and new…

Paul (2011)
As a Simon Pegg-Nick Frost fan, I really wanted to love this road-trip movie about a couple of pasty British sci-fi droolers who pick up a foulmouthed, fatty-puffing space alien (voiced by Rogen) on the way back from their pilgrimage to Comic-Con. Sadly, it’s more Hot Fuzz than Shaun of the Dead — an awesome idea that gets old fast. C+

Your Highness (2011)
This codpieced romp through the Middle Ages from the Pineapple Express guys looks like it was a blast to make, but it’s a ye olde turd to sit through. I didn’t think it was possible, but it actually makes Cheech and Chong seem hilarious. D+

Up in Smoke (1978)
The bowl-smoking barrio boys’ brand of high jinks hasn’t aged well. In Cheech and Chong’s movie debut, they smoke a joint the size of a bratwurst and cross the Mexican border in a van made entirely out of weed. My God, it’s endless. C

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Ah, the good old days, back when Sean Penn was better known for his ”Hey, bud, let’s party” portrayal of Jeff Spicoli than the Oscars on his mantel (although I’d rather watch this than Milk or Mystic River any day). Penn’s amazing as a stoned senior who cares about three things: surfing, getting baked (”That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”), and learning just enough about Thomas Jefferson not being ”bogus” to pass Mr. Hand’s class. A-

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Richard Linklater’s affectionate ode to the bicentennial summer of ’76 follows a group of Texas teens (the soon-to-be-famous Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, et al.) who don’t want the last day of the greatest year of their lives to end. Best of all is Matthew McConaughey’s blissed-out, scene-stealing Wooderson. ”You just gotta keep on livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N.” A-

Friday (1995)
Ice Cube and Chris Tucker play two South Central herbivores who mistakenly blaze up a local dealer’s stash. The reason to watch this one is the manic, motormouthed Tucker. Where have you gone, old friend? America needs you again. B

The Big Lebowski (1998)
Ask 10 people for their favorite scene and you’ll get 10 different answers: Is it the note-perfect movie-within-a-movie Logjammin’, John Turturro’s purple-jumpsuited Jesus dance, or John Goodman’s insistence that he can get the Dude a toe by 3 o’clock? This is a gem that belongs atop any best-of list, Mary Jane-based or otherwise. A

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Imagine Bill & Ted as a Korean-American overachiever (John Cho) and an Indian-American slacker (Kal Penn). The high-IQ duo go on a surreal, munchies-fueled quest for delicious mini-burgers and end up detouring through encounters with college babes who have irritable bowel syndrome, racist cops, and, of course, a totally coked-up Neil Patrick Harris. ”Did Doogie Howser just steal my f—ing car?” You bet he did. Talk about a bad hit of weed. B+

Your Highness
  • Movie
  • R
  • 102 minutes
  • David Gordon Green