Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a heady, sweaty mix of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little 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.