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BORN IN EAST L.A.

  

   

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, March 22, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although this ’80s comedy doesn’t really gather any comic steam and feels like the padded parody that it is, you can’t say it isn’t timely in 2019. Still, I suspect Cheech Marin’s fan base will provide the only takers for this new Blu-ray upgrade from The Shout! Factory. Here’s my review, published in the Deseret News on Sept. 2, 1987.

“Born In East L.A.” is Cheech without Chong.

Cheech Marin — didn’t he used to take billing as Richard “Cheech” Marin? — stars in this expansion of his song/video, a spoof of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in America.”

     

Cheech Marin, left, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), 'Born in East L.A.'

Marin also wrote and directed this movie, which proves that funny things often come in smaller packages — the video is supremely superior.

“Born In East L.A.” has Marin as a third-generation Mexican-American who can’t speak Spanish, and who is accidentally rounded up in an immigration raid and taken south of the border.

In Tijuana he meets strip-joint owner Daniel Stern who takes pity on him and gives him odd jobs to help him earn the money necessary to get back (illegally) to the United States. He also falls in love and shows signs of humanity toward those less fortunate than himself.

     

        Daniel Stern, left, Cheech Marin, 'Born in East L.A.'

All of this shows great potential for hilarity, with the right script and crisp direction — but despite his screen charm, Marin the writer-director is unable to bring it off and the film lumbers along, riding on cheap humor, vulgar asides and raunchy gags that make his character rather unpalatable.

Marin lets all his worse tendencies take over in “Born In East L.A.,” rated R for profanity, vulgarity and raunchy humor.

Next time a collaborator might be wise.

A non-Chong collaborator, please.