With the counterculture comics going mainstream on the strength of the funny songs and routines from their comedy albums, it was no surprise they eventually made their way to the movies with Up in Smoke, which saw them strike box-office (Acapulco) gold with the first stoner comedy, making back 22 times the film's budget. That success gave them even greater creative control, which may have been a mistake. Next Movie clearly needed an outside force to focus and edit the fellas because the humor buzz wears off quick.
Next Movie doesn't so much have a plot as it just finds scenes to insert Cheech and Chong, no longer going by the names Pedro and the Man but still playing those same characters, and lets them cause chaos, but it rarely works. And while they work best as a duo, they are split up about halfway through the movie. Chong has to hang out with Cheech's cousin from Texas, Red (also played by Cheech), while Cheech waits at home for his girl, Donna (Evelyn Guerrero).
That's not to indicate there aren't laughs. There's a self-inflicted explosion, a funny/gross scene in a van where Cheech ingests things he shouldn't, and two silly songs about Mexican Americans. Plus, there's a great supporting cast, such as Paul Reubens, Edie McClurg, and Michael Winslow. Unfortunately, too many scenes flounder, making the movie play like a dress rehearsal of an outline.
The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The colors look good with reds standing out. The image has good depth. Film grain is apparent throughout and when they drive their van around after giving it a low-rider treatment, the grain looks like scurrying insects against the blue sky. During this sequence, vertical lines can occasionally be seen along right side. The audio is available in English Mono DTS-HD MA. Dialogue is clear. Songs have good fidelity. When Chong terrorizes the neighborhood, his electric guitar is very loud without distorting.
The Blu-ray comes with a few extras. "Interview with Cheech Marin" (HD, 19 min) finds the co-star/co-writer talking about making the film and the duo's transition from records. Surprised Chong, who also directed the film, isn't here. A commentary track by them had great potential. There is also a Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 min) and Radio Spots (Audio only, 5 min).
Cheech and Chong's Next Movie might be good to have on in the background while partying with friends, but its loose, improv approach fails to deliver throughout its runtime. Most of the laughs occur during the first half of the film. Fans should be happy with the Blu-ray's technical specs, although the limited special features will have them hungry for more.