CHEECH (Patrice Sauvé). 104 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (December 15). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Don't be misled by the title, dudes.
Cheech isn't a documentary about one half of the stoner comedy duo, although a bit of reefer might make you actually laugh. This intricately plotted dark comedy set in and around a small-time Montreal escort agency isn't as clever or entertaining as first-time feature director Patrice Sauvé obviously thinks it is.
When morose agency owner Ron ( Patrice Robitaille , looking like a forgotten Ramone brother) finds his book of escort portfolio pics has been stolen, he suspects the owner of a rival agency. Soon he, his assistant, a couple of his working girls and one sheepish client (played amusingly by writer François Létourneau ) get mixed up in a series of interconnecting narratives that all involve loneliness and depression.
Bookended by two clever scenes, the film stumbles over its own crummy jokes and Tarantino rip-offs. The incongruous Philip Glass-like score tries to add weight to a story and characters that are paper-thin.