"Cheech and Chong are back in such strong form here that it makes me wonder if I shouldn't reevaluate the previous film, Nice Dreams (1981), which seemed like a misstep to me on my last viewing.
Of course, there are some major differences with Things are Tough All Over. For Nice Dreams, Cheech and Chong took the ultimate stoner/slacker route and made a film with little plot or direction. It seemed like they were engaging in the same behavior offscreen as on and just and playing around with loose, rough ideas. Maybe they also wondered what the heck they had done when later watching Nice Dreams (or watching the box office returns), because for Things are Tough All Over, they took an entirely different path and crafted an intricately structured comic misadventure where they play two interweaving sets of characters--Cheech and Chong, of course, and Mr. Slyman (Cheech) and Prince Habib (Chong), Arab brothers who serve as Cheech and Chong's employers in various guises.
The script for Things are Tough All Over may have been something Cheech and Chong were working on for awhile. The basic subtext (as reflected in the title) is the recession during the Carter years in the U.S. Slyman and Habib represent the flipside of the gas crisis (which is both metaphorically and literally in the plot at the same time in interesting and funny ways, even including flatulence jokes), and their prosperity as well as Cheech and Chong's role in the climax and denouement of the film represent the change of economic and social climate of the Reagan years. This may be reading a bit too heavily into the film, but to some extent, these themes were definitely intentional.
Not that this is a serious film. The gags here are on par with Up in Smoke (1978). And given the engaging misadventure/road-movie plot, the gags have a purpose that makes them that much better. Things are Tough All Over is also unusual in that it's the first Cheech and Chong film that's not focused on drugs. Not that I dislike drug humor (or the idea of drug use), but not _having_ to make this film about drugs opens up the door for Cheech and Chong to focus on comedy for its own sake. They go with material because it's going to be funny, and their timing is exquisitely on--they know just how far they can milk any particular joke for maximum effect."
"This movie will keep you laughing with the antics of these two dope-heads. They get into more situations than the law allows and get out of them easily. Comical all the way."
Excellent! Classic Cheech and Chong!
gjnaug | north beach, md United States | 11/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hillarious movie! They play great double roles as the arab brothers and themselves. There is also a very funny seen involving piotai.(Hope I spelled that right) My advice is to buy or rent this movie. Other suggested C&C films:Up In Smoke, Next Movie, Nice Dreams, Far Out Man, Born In East L.A., Still Smokin'"
Things Are Tough All Over
beausmom420 | Broomfield, Colorado United States | 08/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best movies ever. It is the 3rd best Cheech and Chong movie (1 Up in Smoke, 2 Next Movie). I laughed through most of it. It doesn't have much weed but it is very funny. I think everyone should buy it. i've never met anyone who didn't love this movie. cheech and chong both play 2 roles, and they do it very well."
Really hilarious film
Ned | USA | 11/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ditching their pot smoking image the duo suceeds brilliantly at more conventional humour. Best scene is the sobbing cry sketch the duo have with Rip Torn."