Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pot! Parents! Police! (1972)

Something of a ‘70s equivalent to the infamous anti-drug film Reefer Madness (1936), this deeply uncool melodrama tracks the exploits of a teenager whose life spirals into chaos because—gasp!—he smokes the demon weed. Yes, at the very historical moment when many suburban parents were trying pot in order to understand what their kids were doing, writer/director/star Phillip Pine thought it was a good idea to reiterate the old paranoid concept that puffing a joint leads automatically to crime and hard drugs. Oh, and he also decided to pillory hippies as irresponsible predators seeking to lure teenagers into debauchery and self-destruction. On some level, one must commend Pine for his commitment to his values, but, man, saying he was behind the times is like saying that Nixon had trust issues—understatement fails to convey the breadth of Pine’s cluelessness. The film’s weak plot follows Johnny (Robert Mantell), the confused and withdrawn son of traveling businessman Earl (Pine) and perpetually complaining housewife Beth (Madelyn Keen). Johnny spends a lot of time on his own, meets hippies who give him liquor and weed, and runs into a hassle with an obnoxious cop who wants to use Johnny in order to capture the hippies. Meanwhile, manly-man Earl tries to set his kid straight by talking about fishing and power tools. With its cheap production values and tinny music, Pot! Parents! Police! feels like the shoddiest Afterschool Special ever made. Oh, and make what you will of the following: This film somehow managed to earn two theatrical releases, and during the first of these it bore the nonsensical title The Cat Ate the Parakeet. Sounds like a title someone might come up with after amokin’ a j, man!

Pot! Parents! Police!: LAME


Cindylover1969 said...

Beware of distributors whose name includes the word "International," American excepted.

William Blake Hall said...

Interesting that Nixon came to mind as you reviewed this, because danged if Pine didn't resemble Nixon. As Pines go he was no Chris.

By Peter Hanson said...

Or even Chris Pine's dad Robert, the boss on "CHiPs."