By: Cc Biedron

Reefer Madness the Musical, Film Review

Rated R / Comedy, drama, horror

Thanks in large part to the late William Randolph Hearst and his agenda, the concept that marijuana was more harmful than heroin, cocaine, and seedy dive bars combined created a panic for parents worried about their precious youths.  Produced in 1936 as a serious film to educate the masses about the horrors of Mary Jane, Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) later earned a cult following at colleges and universities in the 1970’s.  By 2005, Showtime released a musical of the same name combining satire, sarcasm and song to create a witty masterpiece.

Jimmy Harper was a boy that was going places.  He had a nifty gal by his side, good grades and a sturdy, American resolve—that is, until he was introduced to the reefer stick.  Narrated by Alan Cumming, Reefer Madness the Musical follows Jimmy, played by Christian Campbell, through a harrowing tale of coercion, violence, murder and addiction.

Mary Lane, played by Kristen Bell, is the straight-laced young lady in Jimmy’s life.  She is so sweet it’s almost nauseating—in the best way possible.  Her character’s innocence and naivety is a stark contrast to the harsh “reality” of the reefer den.  The reefer den, run by Mae and Jack (Ana Gasteyer and Steve Weber respectively) is the proverbial spider’s web.  Jack hits up local teen hotspots and lures them into the den, and then hooks the unassuming youths on the vile drug.  Along with over-the-top, ex-college student, Ralph, and Sally the resident slut, the cast of characters are as addicting as the drug menace portrayed in the film.

Along with the clever writing and a satirical tone, the audience is met with a group of actors that know their way around a microphone and dance floor.  From Kristen Bell’s saccharine soprano to Christian Campbell’s charming baritone, the musical numbers are sure to delight any musical lover, and even draw in a few skeptics along the way.  It’s hard not to get wrapped up in songs titled “Listen to Jesus, Jimmy,” “The Orgy” and “Jimmy Takes a Hit.”

So, if you’re searching for an intelligent comedy to view on your next Friday night in, try Reefer Madness the Musical.  The running jokes, campy irony, and exaggerated acting all meld together into the best TV Movie I have ever seen.  I give it five out of five frothy brews.