Stoner film is a subgenre of comedy films that revolve around the use of cannabis. Typically, such movies show cannabis use in a comic and positive fashion. Generally, cannabis use is one of the main themes, and inspires much of the plot. They are often representative of cannabis culture.
The series of movies in the 1970s starring Cheech & Chong are archetypal "stoner movies." The historic film Reefer Madness (1936) has also become popular as a "stoner movie" because its anti-drug message is seen by some modern viewers as so over the top that the film amounts to self-parody. Playing on such parody, a musical comedy remake set in 1936 (as the original film was), Reefer Madness, was released in 2005.
High Times magazine regularly sponsors the Stony Awards to celebrate stoner films and television. Many of these films do not fit the category of "stoner film" as a subgenre, but contain enough cannabis use to be deemed noteworthy by the periodical.
Many stoner movies have certain elements and themes in common. The template involves a protagonist or protagonists (often two friends in a variation of the buddy film) who have or are attempting to find marijuana and have some task to complete. Often stoner films involve evading authority figures, sometimes law enforcement agents, who are portrayed as comically inept, but also parents, co-workers, friends, and security guards who disapprove of the protagonists' marijuana usage usually out of a greater lack of acceptance of their lifestyle of leisure and innocence. Most serious moments are intended ironically, often to parody overwrought counterparts in mainstream cinema. The comic story arcs often approach or fall over the line into slapstick.
Nine to Five was the first stoner film to feature a female protagonist. The men are well-meaning and usually sexually frustrated, and will usually come comically close to sexual success with exceedingly beautiful women only to have the opportunity lost due to chance or ineptitude.