A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie reeks of marijuana. The main characters smoke an excessive amount of pot and make it look pretty fun, like when they discover a special kind of weed that makes them fly through the air like superheroes. Several celebrities make cameos -- Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Janeane Garafalo, Jon Stewart -- which would seem to condone drug use by these potential role models. One brief scene of young teens smoking a joint appears. Characters do have to deal with some consequences for their drug use, and in the end the main character gives up pot for romance. Gay jokes pepper the film, though they stick to stereotypes ("Don't drop the soap!") rather than hostile hate words.
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What's the story?
Four loser friends who have been smoking pot together since they were teens get into trouble when one friend goes on a munchie run and ends up in jail after feeding junk food to a diabetic police horse. In an attempt to get the friend out of jail (and spare him the inevitable homosexual prison assault), the remaining three friends start selling pot that Thurgood Jenkins (Dave Chappelle) steals from the hospital where he's a janitor. Because their pot is so good (it comes from the hospital's clinic trials department), they end up so successful that they attract the attention of a rival dealer. In the meantime, Thurgood meets an anti-drug girlfriend whom he must lie to about his pot use.
Is it any good?
This is the kind of movie that only pot smokers (current, former, or potential) will enjoy. The fragile plot is kept alive by the constant insider jokes, which range from clever (comedian Steven Wright plays Man-on-the-Couch -- an unknown guy who just sleeps on the roommates' couch throughout the whole movie), to dumb (the guys get a dog high).
Despite the movie's thin premise, Dave Chappelle is actually a very smart comedian, so he sticks all sorts of tiny details into the film that enrich it slightly. For example, in an attempt to get accepted into a clinical marijuana trial he tells a scientist that he's qualified because his grandfather was part of the Tuskegee experiments (when the US government used poor African-American men as test subjects beginning in the 1930s resulting in the unecessary death of many). These tidbits together with Chappelle's silly likeability save the film from horridness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about drug use. The movie seems to say that pot isn't as big a deal as other drugs -- what do you think?
What does this movie teach about the experience of using marijuana? How realistic do you think the movie's depiction of pot use is?
Do you know anyone who smokes pot or uses other drugs? What's the allure of using drugs?
- In theaters: January 16, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: February 15, 2005
- Cast: Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Harland Williams
- Director: Tamra Davis
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 82 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive drug content, language, nudity and sexual material.
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