Smiley Face review by Tom Blain

I guess I have to start to wonder at this point if I really do like stoner films. I hated Dude Wheres My Car?. With a passion I hated that movie. There was very little in that movie that was worthy of a laugh. Then after years somewhat liking Up in Smoke I realized that I was somewhat bored by it very recently. I realized I wasnt dead yet when I laughed so hard while watching Harold and Kumar that I nearly tore my MCL. So in order to test out my stoner comedy pulse, I decided to watch Smiley Face. Seems simple enough, some chick gets baked and goes on an odyssey around LA.

Jane (Anna Farris) is the stoner. Dont know how else to sum her up any better. Ill expand the comment by saying she is a young 20-something slacker living in LA hoping to land an acting job somewhere, but those hopes are pretty far down on her need ladder. If that ladder had 10 rungs, getting stoned would be 1 through 9. One day she is sitting on the couch and unknowingly consumes a dozen pot cupcakes. For the rest of the movie she tries to navigate herself through L.A., on a vision quest that includes buying more weed, screwing up her TV audition, looking for money to pay off her drug dealer, and looking for a ride to meet up with her drug dealer so that he doesnt steal her really comfy bed.

Along the way she gets help from her geek club groupie Brevin Ericson (John Krasinski). Nerdy Brevin drops everything for Jane who he finds hot, despite her grotesque stoner habits and ends up screwing up his day and getting his wallet stolen. She also gets her hands on someones original Communist Manifesto and plans to ebay it for enough money to pay off her debts. All of this is done through the influence of a lot of marijuana. There is more that happens but explaining it is probably just as pointless as explaining what I already wrote. The point of the movie is A) she gets really baked and B) she says and does a lot of dumb things.

15 minutes into the movie, Im wondering if Im close to the end. And Im wondering where the first laugh is (ok I chuckled at minute 18 when Jane gets on the bus). My whole problem with the movie is that I just dont laugh at what is supposed to be funny. Pretty basic comedy error. But what why am I not laughing? In the Behind-the-Scenes, the director was talking about how it was such a great script just filled with laughs on every page. A movie that ironically sat on the shelves for about 5 years in script form and he was surprised to find it was still available in 2007. Big shock maybe because NO ONE WANTS TO MAKE A BAD MOVIE.

But seriously, watching a movie that is supposed to be a comedy but doesnt make me laugh, often makes me think about why its just no funny. In this case, maybe its because watching an idiot hallucinate and screw up normal situations can be fun in small doses (see Sandler, Adam), but can get really old if that is the entire movie. More importantly it doesnt seem to work if the camera is on the side of the main actor for a 90-minute freak-out. Maybe a hardcore stoner could find such enjoyment in Smiley Face, but cant hardcore stoners laugh at Beaches if they are baked enough?

John Krasinski (aka Jim from The Office) has some of the more funny moments in the film with his small part. Its far from a tour de force, but seeing his uptight nerd character was a moment of relief from the constant stonery of Anna Farris character. Her schtick ran dry pretty quick. I guess she is trying to show her range by going from a gross-out parody like Scary Movie to a dumb blonde dead-head in Smiley Face. Mission accomplished.

So the final word on Smiley Face would be avoid, unless you really dont have standards. If you dont have standards then throw this movie into a pile of other movies of varying quality and see what you get with a blind grab. And if it helps, put yourself in a state where things that normally wouldnt be funny all of a sudden seem funny. Alcohol might be one solution, but the movie does illustrate other methods. It maybe your only shot at salvaging a night with Smiley Face.




2 out of 10 Jackasses
blog comments powered by Disqus