Ripped Review
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From Cheech and Chong to Harold and Kumar, stoner buddies have made for some wildly successful comedies. And in Ripped, a new pair of stoner buddies smoke their way into the future and attempt to adjust to a new time and a new way of living.

Ripped tells the story of a pair of teenage stoners who, after smoking a whole lot of super-secret CIA-grown pot in 1986, apparently pass out for 30 years. When they wake up, Harris and Reeves (Russell Peters and Faizon Love) are suddenly older and (for some inexplicable reason) fatter and balder—and they’re surrounded by the astonishing technology of 2016. Back in their hometown, they reconnect with Harris’s high school sweetheart, Debbie Sanchez (Alex Meneses), who’s now a single mom with a teenage son. And, from their temporary home in Debbie’s guest house, they hatch a plan to open a chili restaurant using their favorite herb as the not-so-secret ingredient.

  
 
If you happen to be watching while completely sober, stoner comedies can sometimes make for frustrating (and often far from funny) viewing. And that’s generally the case with Ripped. The time-shifting aspect of the story gives it an interesting twist, but it’s filled with distracting holes and inconsistencies that are all too easy to pick apart. The characters, too, lack both development and consistency, their attitudes and behavior changing from one scene to the next. Sometimes they’re just overgrown teenage troublemakers, and sometimes they’re surprisingly mature and well-spoken.

Fortunately, though, the time change does offer some laughs. Not only are Harris and Reeves teenage stoners suddenly living in 40-something bodies, but they also have to get accustomed to a new time period—one where people plug in their cars, walk around staring at things that look like calculators, and buy overpriced coffee at street corner shops. Their confusion and 1980s perspective often bring some surprising laughs—some clever observations about life in the 21st century.

It’s just too bad that those amusing moments weren’t contained in a more entertaining story. The duo’s quest to open the Chili Pot isn’t especially interesting. The characters focus their energy on trying to get loans and renting a space and working with suppliers—which is actually pretty dull, despite the intended outcome. And, in the end, the film relies too much on its characters’ dim-witted antics and not enough on telling an amusing story.

Despite its time-jumping comic potential, Ripped fails to deliver. It may be good enough for some brainless late-night viewing—but, even then, you’d be better off with one of the stoner classics.


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