a/k/a Tommy Chong
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When comedy legend Tommy Chong was arrested in 2003 and given a nine-month prison sentence for the manufacture and sale of drug paraphernalia, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's revamped war on drugs soared, like a mighty eagle stricken with vertigo in mid-flight, to new levels of absurdity. Fortunately, filmmaker Josh Gilbert's cameras were rolling at the time, offering viewers a firsthand account of the vengeful American justice system in action. In addition to glamorizing drug use, prosecutors argued that Chong was also guilty of trivializing efforts by law enforcement agencies… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This isn't a great piece of nonfiction filmmaking, but it has its moments."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"It is also a portrait of resilience: Chong does his time (nine months) and has the last laugh, emerging as a born-again activist-survivor of the culture wars."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Josh Gilbert's curt documentary about the arrest and conviction of comedian and former bong-maker Tommy Chong reveals the federal sting operation that put Tommy Chong in a state penitentiary for nine months for shipping glass bongs to Pennsylvania."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"What comes across is Chong's innate elegance and intelligence, two qualities often missing from his trademark comedic work."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"Apparently granted unlimited access to Chong's personal archives, Gilbert digs up some great footage and photos from his early years as well his '70s heyday."
‑ Ethan Alter, Premiere Magazine
"Even those unimpressed with [Cheech and Chong's] genially lowbrow work will be intrigued by the political tenor of this portrait."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"Josh Gilbert's film tells the depressing, often ridiculous and generally enraging story of how and why Tommy Chong ended up doing time in a minimum-security prison."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Rather than some rambling, pro-pot film, this flick actually does a pretty good job of documenting the issues surrounding Chong's arrest, and the obvious intention by the Ashcroft justice department to bring down an icon of the debauched 70s."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"This is an important propaganda film. After all, Gilbert has all the facts in hand and presents it halfway decently."
‑ Eric Lurio, Greenwich Village Gazette
"Josh Gilbert's smoothly produced documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong should leave even Nancy Reagan aghast at the unfair trials of comedian Tommy Chong."
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"What could have been either a scathing critique of the drug war or an intimate portrait of a stoner facing mortality instead comes off as a fawning infomercial for its subject."
‑ Nathan Rabin, AV Club
"How the feds inadver tently resurrected the performing career of stoner comic Tommy Chong by busting him is the ironic subtext of Josh Gilbert's one-sided documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"A very scary documentary illustrating the carte blanche accorded Big Brother by the Patriot Act"
‑ Kam Williams, EURWeb
"should have gone for more"
‑ Chris Cabin, Filmcritic.com
"Its dramatic thinness doesn't dilute its simultaneously ridiculous and terrifying portrait of federal prosecution run amok."
‑ Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
More reviews for a/k/a Tommy Chong on Rotten Tomatoes