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PANAMA RED [a.k.a. Acapulco Gold] (1976).

This hippie-dippy California drugfest begins with its credits superimposed over cannabis plants. And from there on, it's all downhill! Possessing all the intellect of a Cheech and Chong movie, but without ANY of the laughs. A film that trivializes, even as it stultifies. Director/writer Robert C. Chinn (whose other claim to 'fame' is directing a bunch of John Holmes porno flicks, including JOHNNY WADD) is the culprit behind this amateurish tripe, but lead actor Jim Wingert deserves the biggest boot up the ass for contributing the bullshit soundtrack tunes, such as "Have You Made It With the Maid Yet?"... It begins like a domestic soap opera, with hairball Randy and his pregnant wife dealing with their penniless homelife, but when a slick drug smuggler arrives on the scene with 1000 kilos of Panama Red, Randy gets involved with dealing out the shipment to all his pothead pals (in shoeboxes full, no less!). Randy's tepid adventures include getting ripped off by black militants, getting it on with a groovy chick (remember free love?), making plans to go to Spain with the profits, and (in the only funny scene) even selling his mother-in-law some of the shit. Meanwhile, the cops (hisssss) are trying to track down the source of this new supply. The entire sorry cast would barely make it as sentient human beings, much less thespians, but the one thing going for the flick is the blatant fact that every character (except the fuzz) nonchalantly tokes up at every possible instant. Not to mention, actually inhales the stuff for once. Quite a difference from today's "say no to independent thought" attitude. And though I kept wondering if the film would've been any better under the influence of the title weed, I severely doubt it. The pic goes absolutely nowhere, and takes its own sweet time doing it... Even if it does manage to capture a particular lifestyle of the stoned and stupid, it still doesn't make the movie anything more than low budget drivel. At least it has a happy ending, so I wasn't totally pissed off by it. But overall, if I wanna waste my time with a bunch of smoked-up burn-outs, I'd rather go down to Wetlands and sit on a loading dock with the Deadheads. At least I'll get a free buzz out of the ordeal.

© 1994 by Steven Puchalski.