Cheech And Chong's The Corsican Brothers Review
In Louis J. Gasnier's outrageous marijuana propaganda movie, Reefer Madness, also known as Tell Your Children, the opening warning tells of the dangers one faces following but one puff on the demon weed with effects ranging from "uncontrollable laughter, dangerous hallucinations...conjuring up monstrous extravagances...leading finally to acts of shocking violence ending in often incurable insanity." A stern warning indeed but one notes that Gasnier failed to mention that victims of marijuana addiction, of which Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are undoubtedly two of the most well-known, may also be responsible for some of the most shockingly dire films yet produced, of which The Corsican Brothers is a prime example.
Reefer Madness may have seen Mary shot by a hallucinating Bill whilst craving packets of Spicy Bikers and Skittles but at least death prevented her from ever seeing this and should Bill ever join her in the afterlife, she may wish to extend a note of thanks for that alone.
For those unaware of the story of Alexander Dumas' The Corsican Brothers, the tale concerns said siblings who are orphaned as children and become separated, only to meet many years later to overthrow the corrupt French aristocracy. They know they are brothers by the bond they share such that one can feel the pain of the other.
In Cheech and Chong's version, the brothers Luis (Cheech) and Lucien (Chong) become lost in the forest when returning home one day only to be reunited 21 years later. Luis' nationality is explained by him having been abducted and brought to Mexico whilst Lucien became the scourge of the rulers of France. Together, the brothers agree to never rest until the people are free of the tyrannical rule of the villainous...prepare yourselves now...only joke in the film this...ready?...here it is...Evil Fuckaire.
After that, some stuff happens. Two viewings of this film, however, have not given this reviewer any further idea as to how the film resolves itself other than to say that the end credits do eventually appear. Then again, given that souls do eventually emerge from Purgatory, good things do come to those who are sufficiently patient.
Cheech and Chong, then. Up In Smoke wasn't bad, wasn't great either but was as funny as a marijuana comedy was ever likely to be. They then made a whole bunch of further comedies all based around the concept of smoking bales of dope, getting laid and drinking beer. A bit like Animal House then, you ask? Ah...no, To say it's like Animal House is like saying that camcorder footage you shot of you and your mates prancing around a forest paint balling is like The Deer Hunter. Paint balling is painful but bruises heal and I'm not entirely sure that the mental scarring endured by watching this will be overcome so quickly. Nurse? It's time for my medication...
Why doesn't it work? Put simply, it's embarrassing to watch Cheech and Chong roll out their tired old schtick without even a few half-decent drugs jokes to bring the movie together. Whether both were clean at this point or that Orion Pictures simply told them to drop the references to pot, The Corsican Brothers lacks the kind of humour that Cheech and Chong were renowned for. Whilst having nothing against acts that attempt to shift the terms of their humour away from what they were previously known for in favour of new material, such a move can appear without merit if the old jokes aren't replaced by new material. In the case of Cheech and Chong, there were only ever drugs jokes and, with them gone, we're not left with an awful lot. This is really a dreadful little film that is devoid of anything approaching wit, grace or charm. Instead, The Corsican Brothers is a lumpen, confusing mess that struggles to raise so much as a smile.
Still, there is a guy in it called Evil Fuckaire...one point.
The Corsican Brothers is anamorphically presented in 1.85:1 and has been transferred without a hitch, duplicating the soft appearance of the original movie on this release.
The Corsican Brothers is presented with its original 2.0 Stereo soundtrack intact, which is perfectly acceptable if a little flat, much of which is to do with the manner in which it was originally recorded and which is faithfully replicated here.
Given that this is a budget release from MGM, The Corsican Brothers ships with only one bonus feature and, as expected, it is:
Theatrical Trailer (2m28s, 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): This is a straightforward trailer, summarising the movie with just less than two-and-a-half minutes of highlights.
Well, I'm not going to say that it's recommended, not even when directed towards fans of Cheech and Chong. Given that how low the quality meter must go to even consider declaring themselves anything of the sort, this should give you some idea how truly awful this film it. In keeping with the drugs references, one can only assume that Orion Pictures, who originally produced and distributed The Corsican Brothers must have been taking some serious hits from the bong the day that this was given the green light.
How ironic it is that the resolutely drugs-free Reefer Madness is as good an advertisement for the inspired lunacy that drugs can offer whilst this Cheech and Chong movie is a stern warning as to what can happen with extended drugs usage.
Have young kids? Think they're considering experimenting with drugs? Set them down with this and tell them that drugs will make them think this film is funny. When they realise the sheer mind-bending horrors of said illicit substances, they'll be down the Gospel Hall with the rest of the holy rollers first thing in the morning renouncing drugs, drink and heavy petting. Parents, take note!