It's time to rethink the influence of television on American cinema. Specifically, the role "Saturday Night Live" has played in killing comedy movies.
Unfortunate Exhibit A: "Half Baked," a mirthless, stoned-buddy movie starring marijuana, Dave Chappelle and "SNL" player Jim Breuer, based on the notion that a scattering of cultural references and over-the-top characters can sustain a one-joke plot.
Chappelle is the only spark of life here, perhaps because he co-wrote it, and plays the only weed-head with half a brain and an ounce of motivation. He gives evidence of having an interesting, nervous kind of movie energy. But yo, yo, yo, Dave. Weren't you hip, man? What are you doing involved in this limp, predictable less-than-sitcom of a movie. It's a bomb, man, not the bomb. If you think this is what you have to do to get major multiplex screen time, you're reading the wrong press clippings.
"Half Baked," which Universal Pictures did not screen for critics, is billed as a Cheech & Chong movie for the '90s, as if every decade demanded one. The film finds a grass-blowing trio engaged in selling drugs--yes, even to children--to raise bail money for a fourth roommate in prison for killing a police horse.