Reefer Madness (or Down the Rabbit Hole)

Have I mentioned that I'm a huge Kristen Bell fan?  Yes?  Well, just in case you didn't quite grasp the idea, I am a HUGE Kristen Bell fan.  When I realized that she was one of the stars in a movie I saw years ago, I had to go back and watch it again with fresh eyes.  So, recently, I popped in a newly purchased copy of Reefer Madness: the Movie Musical.

If you have not seen/heard of the movie, please begin by visiting the Wikipedia entry for the original 1938 film entitled Reefer Madness.  From there, you can find entries for the 1998 stage play and off-Broadway production, as well as the movie version that I will be discussing, 2005's Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical.

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a satirical comedy, and plays off of an old propaganda film.  The basic premise is that marijuana is akin to the devil, and will ruin your polite, beautiful, innocent children, turning them into sexual deviants and drug addicts.  It takes place in the 1930s, telling the story of two young teenagers who come under the grip of the reefer stick.

Jimmy Harper and Mary Lane are played wonderfully by Christian Campbell and Kristen Bell.  Christian seems to have been born with the cheeky grin that teenagers seemed to have in the 30s, and Kristen shines while showing off her musical theatre training.  "Romeo and Juliet" is the first song we see Christian and Kristen sing, and is extremely amusing.  (I will never again be able to refer to Shakespeare's famous play as anything other than Romeo AND Juliet.)  Fast forward a few musical numbers, and you will find yourself watching "Jimmy Takes a Hit/The Orgy" and "Lonely Pew," which then lead into "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy."  While these are technically four seperate songs, they really blend together into one spatial equation.  If you are a fan of Grease, you may find the blocking in "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy" very familiar.  The scene reeked of "Beauty School Dropout," complete with angels on a descending staircase.  A few short scenes later, and we get to see Mary take her first hit of pot, leading to "Little Mary Sunshine."  Guys, here it is, a chance to see Kristen Bell in dominatrix mode, singing of whips and nipple clips.

And from there, the movie just fizzled.  I loved the first half or so, but the ending just dragged.  I felt like I was watching a famous Michael Jackson video, minus Michael Jackson.  Then again, maybe that's why I never did drugs.  My hallucinations would probably have meshed well with the last 30 minutes of the movie.

Alan Cummings does his usual wonderful job throughout the film, and Neve Campbell has a brief opportunity to show off her voice as a diner waitress.  The various parents and druggies all fit into the stereotypes that you would expect to see in a propaganda film.

Now I think I need to go and see the original 1938 film.  Luckily, it's included on the DVD.

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