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The plot meanders quite a bit as it follows the two as they search for ways to score marijuana. Along the way, they are pursued by a set of highly incompetent drug agents who are trying to intercept a van made of pure "plasticized" marijuana that the duo are driving unawares.
The film is notable for being the first feature film starring Cheech and Chong and was a financial success with much of its revenue, perhaps surprisingly, coming from Texas and Canada.
This movie contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Cheech's first interaction with the bird ("Pedro's not here") is a reference to Cheech & Chong's "Dave" routine.
- Butt Monkey: Sgt. Stedanko
- Everybody Must Get Stoned: The DEA agents who are chasing them eventually get high when a vehicle made out of marijuana starts smoking while they're standing next to it.
- Immune to Drugs: Chong's character, Man, doesn't get a buzz from a joint that sets everyone else on their ear.
- Mundane Object Amazement: Man is very impressed by Pedro's utterly crappy car and its cheesy stylings.
- No Name Given: Man's real name is Anthony Stoner. His first name is mentioned by his parents in his opening scene, but everyone else just calls him 'Man'.
- Not What It Looks Like: People think that Man is having energetic sex with a woman in a van when, in fact, she's just describing a friend's sexual encounter with some very enthusiastic sound effects.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Played for laughs when Pedro takes Man to meet his cousin Strawberry.
- Shout-Out: At one point, Cheech is reenacting dialogue from the Laurel and Hardy movie Saps at Sea.
- Stoners Are Funny: This should go without saying.
- Watch It Stoned: Played straight as well as averted in the scene where Cheech has way too much of a very powerful joint and, as a consequence, suffers intense paranoia.