BORN IN EAST L.A. (CHEECH MARIN)

year: 1987
cast: Cheech Marin, Daniel Stern, Jan-Michael Vincent
rating: ***

The cinematic version of Cheech and Chong's Weird Al-esque parody of Bruce Springsteen's BORN IN THE USA, sans Chong, is considered a comedy, of course, but without being very funny. The adventure of an American-born Mexican... Cheech Marin in his first solo outing - mistaken as an illegal immigrant and shipped to Tijuana... doesn't need the overkill of slapstick: like Cheech teaching a group of Japanese dorks how to be Mexican; teaching a Mariachi band how to play rock n' roll; altering a convict's tattoo; or any of the scenes involving Paul Rodriguez. These attempted avenues of misfired humor sidetrack our hero's dilemma: to find a way back across the border. That alone, with an intense Jan-Michael Vincent on his trail, would be entertaining and involving enough without all the silly detours.

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