REEFER MADNESS: THE MOVIE MUSICAL (2005) – Everybody must get stoned

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The following is my entry in It’s Just a Joke: The Movie Parody Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from Sept. 1-3, 2017. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ takes on a wide variety of movie spoofs, either as genre parodies or plot devices!

reefermadness

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a heady, sweaty mix of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowLittle Shop of Horrors, and Monty Python that should be eagerly devoured by fans of outrageous black comedy and be energetically avoided by everyone else.

As you might or might not know, Reefer Madness began life as a 1936 propaganda movie, telling an eerie tale about the evils of marijuana that was entirely based on nonfactual theories — chief among them that marijuana would lead its users to immorality, insanity, and jazz piano. This musical version is an obvious take-off on the original, with a cast that has a ball with the concept, including Kristen Bell, “SNL” vet Ana Gasteyer, and Alan Cumming playing a smug narrator with perfect pitch.

Be forewarned that this is comedy at its blackest. The gore gets laid on a little thick, there’s a blasphemous musical number (shades of Monty Python’s “Christmas in Heaven”) that won’t do liberals any favors, and the finale tries for social commentary after one-and-three-fourth-hours of campy fun. But in the end, this version gives a hilarious nose-thumbing to those who are all too willing to let jingoists do their thinking for them. It’s an absolute hoot.

Melissa McCarthy in THE BOSS

Boss

I usually don’t display my old-fogeyism this flagrantly. But yesterday, I found that the trailer for Melissa McCarthy’s new movie comedy, The Boss, had been embedded into my Twitter account’s feed. I’m not any McCarthy fan, but since the preview was there anyway, I figured I’d check it out.

Much has been made of critic Leonard Maltin’s recent admission that his review of Zoolander 2 is incomplete because he walked out on the movie before it was finished. I found this trailer so repugnant, I wanted to walk out on it, and it was on my home computer. But I sat through the entire thing.

Not only did I not laugh, I was downright offended by it. Right from the get-go, the preview intends to get laughs by calling its protagonist every offensive name in the book. Does anybody try to get “honest” laughs anymore without resorting to playground-level cursing?

Then we’re supposed to be tickled silly when McCarthy and her sidekick tell Kristen Bell’s character that they’re shocked that any man would deign to have sexual intercourse with her. Kristen Bell is a charming actress, and I don’t mind admitting that I felt personally insulted for Bell at having to earn a paycheck from such a cheap shot.

From there, McCarthy’s character (for reasons not worth going into here) decides to create the ultimate Girl Scout troop from some inner-city girls, resulting in a violent scene that goes far beyond slapstick and well into pity territory.

I’m sure this will be the box-office hit of the week, until McCarthy’s fans stop turning out for it and it ends up on Netflix or the like three weeks later. But what does it say for women’s legacy in cinema that one of the top female comedy box-office draws can earn such status only by being as gross and brain-dead as the unfunniest guys in movie comedy?

Here’s the trailer. (WARNING: Much adult language!) Judge for yourself, and feel free to agree or disagree with me in the “Comments” section below.

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Jan. 30: REEFER MADNESS: THE MOVIE MUSICAL (2005)

ReeferMadness

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a heady, sweaty mix of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowLittle Shop of Horrors, and Monty Python that should be eagerly devoured by fans of outrageous black comedy and be energetically avoided by everyone else.

As you might or might not know, Reefer Madness began life as a 1936 propaganda movie, telling an eerie tale about the evils of marijuana that was entirely based on nonfactual theories — chief among them that marijuana would lead its users to immorality, insanity, and jazz piano. This musical version is an obvious take-off on the original, with a cast that has a ball with the concept, including “Veronica Mars'” Kristen Bell, “SNL” vet Ana Gasteyer, and Alan Manning playing a smug narrator with perfect pitch. 

Be forewarned that this is comedy at its blackest. The gore gets laid on a little thick, there’s a blasphemous musical number (shades of Monty Python’s “Christmas in Heaven”) that won’t do liberals any favors, and the finale tries for social commentary after one-and-three-fourth-hours of campy fun. But in the end, this version gives a hilarious nose-thumbing to those who are all too willing to let jingoists do their thinking for them. It’s an absolute hoot.

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is rated TV-MA-LSV for brief nudity, sexual situations, and stylized violence and gore. Join us at #SatMat (if you dare!) for our Live Tweet of the movie, this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST at Twitter.com.