This Cheech and Chong-like story doesn’t really add up but lightly amuses. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
Summer’s here and the time is right for a stoner movie America can believe in. Think “The Big Lebowski,” “How High,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” or the freewheeling Dave Chappelle vehicle “Half Baked.”
This year’s entry in the weed genre is “Ripped,” and, no, it doesn’t come anywhere near the level of comedy or, in some cases, artistic achievement of its predecessors. But it is lightly amusing in a Cheech and Chong way, though its central fantasy concept sputters to near-irrelevancy.
Comedian and actor Russell Peters plays Harris, a no-account pothead during the Reagan era who roams around with his equally high pal Reeves (Faizon Love) in a smoke-filled van.
Movie Review ★★
‘Ripped,’ with Russell Peters, Faizon Love, Alex Meneses. Directed by Brad Epstein, from a screenplay by Epstein and Billiam Coronel. 98 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.
As they stumble through their days, babbling and focused on little more than their stash, the munchies and a need to find a bathroom, co-writer and director Brad Epstein wrings familiar stoner humor from the material. It helps that Love, with his physical bulk, wide eyes and self-satisfied grin, does a lot of the heavy lifting as the bigger clown of the duo, while Peters suggests Harris isn’t totally without ethics or common sense.
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The story lifts off when a forbidden relationship between near-middle-age Harris and a teenage girl named Debbie is thwarted by her father. Retreating from that awkward moment, Harris and Reeves are presented with some special brand of marijuana that somehow puts them in suspended animation for 30 years. They wake up, looking and acting precisely the same, in our time, and find Debbie (Alex Meneses) to be a forty-something single mom.
While there are jokes about a pair of 1980s slackers trying to make sense of the internet and cellphones, the time-travel conceit doesn’t really mean much. “Ripped” works best as a middling series of gags about being far too many tokes over the line.