Smiley Face Movie Review

Smiley Face is Gregg Araki's entry into that hallowed genre of the stoner comedy, of which Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle may be the most resent minor classic (a major stoner classic seems somehow self-contradictory, doesn't it?). But Araki's take on what is really the modern update of slapstick lags in some major departments, mostly notably in briskness and anarchy, the engines of this genre. Thankfully, this being an Araki outing, it still manages a dash of weirdness and spontaneity to keep things amusingly off-kilter.

Smiley Face's stoner heroine Jane F. (Anna Faris) may be about as dull as bongwater, so a story about her had better be sharp and stepped up for it to register, and it can't even for half a beat be afraid that it's not making sense. The best slapstick flicks -- of which the stoner comedy is the modern-day update -- do not care if you get the jokes or not, or even if you like them very much (those qualities help make everything from The Three Stooges to Airplane! to the aforementioned Harold & Kumar so charming). In this regard, Araki's approach to the material is rather cautious, as the genre goes; there's a been-there-done-that whiff about this humor, and he wants to endear us to Jane and her story too insistently. Most troublesome is that Araki and screenwriter Dylan Haggerty beat a very simple premise -- that this chick is baked out of her gourd -- into the ground over and over again. The entire extent of Smiley Face's comedy rests on Faris pulling the dopey stoner face and stumbling through the scenery as she scrambles to pay off her dealer so he won't confiscate her furniture.

Faris has the chops for the role, but her performance lacks the balls-to-the-wall boldness that this sort of comedy demands. This is due less to Faris, who sticks a couple of hilarious moments, and more to Araki handling this material with kid gloves. There's a somewhat precious quality to this movie, a contentment with tired jokes that causes the material to slow and idle throughout. Notably, there are gags peripheral to the pothead humor -- like a bit about how Jane's creepy roommate (a funny Danny Masterson), a sci-fi freak, just might be into skull sex -- that spark laughs. But Araki and Haggerty keep playing that particular gag up at every turn, and, unfortunately, wring it to death.

Jane's episodic crosstown odyssey to meet her dealer mildly entertains without rising to the requisite level of manic giddiness. Araki gives us welcome cameos from a raft of excellent comedy actors, including Brian Posehn (best known from TV's divine Mr. Show and the equally divine The Sarah Silverman Program) and Dave Allen (the hippie-dippy counselor from TV's peerless Freaks and Geeks), and he gets sharp comic turns from his supporting players. Foremost among the latter are John Krasinski as Brevin, an über-doofus who's got the hots for the ever-clueless Jane, and John Cho (from Harold & Kumar, there's that movie again), as a sausage delivery driver in whose truck she stows away. It's these appearances that lend Smiley Face its freshness, though the material runs stale even before the credits roll. Coincidentally, a recent episode of Sarah Silverman featured Posehn as a pothead who mistakenly oversmokes, forgets how to drive, and blunders into a local protest rally; those 22 minutes were more adventurous and hilarious, it must be said, than most anything in Smiley Face's 85.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , , Alix Madigan, Henry Winterstern


Comments

Smiley Face Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2007

Editors Recommendations

No, AC/DC Are Not Splitting Up After All. Probably.

It looks like AC/DC fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because rumors of the band’s...

No, AC/DC Are Not Splitting Up After All. Probably.

Allergic Reaction To Blame For Miley Cyrus' Cancelled Tuesday Gig

Miley Cyrus has had it rough this week, as the star has been hospitalized for a severe allergic...

Allergic Reaction To Blame For Miley Cyrus' Cancelled Tuesday Gig

'Transcendence': Negative Reviews For Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger' Comeback

‘Transcendence’ is a stern Springtime test for Johnny Depp; the 50-year-old actor mooted...

'Transcendence': Negative Reviews For Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger' Comeback

Paul Walker's Brothers Brought In By Universal To Complete Late Actor's "Fast & Furious 7" Scenes

The team behind Fast & Furious 7 has come up with a untraditional solution to finish...

Paul Walker's Brothers Brought In By Universal To Complete Late Actor's

Game of Thrones' Jack Gleeson On Joffrey, Screen Deaths And His Indefinite Retirement

Let’s get the spoiler alert out of the way first: if you haven’t seen Season 4 Episode 2...

Game of Thrones' Jack Gleeson On Joffrey, Screen Deaths And His Indefinite Retirement

Why Did Nobody Watch The 'Mad Men' Season 7 Premiere?

We're not sure what everyone was watching on Sunday night, but the season seven premiere...

Why Did Nobody Watch The 'Mad Men' Season 7 Premiere?

The Next 'Breaking Bad'? 'Fargo' Ep. 1 Is A Must-See [Video]

New television series Fargo premiered last night on FX, giving American audiences...

The Next 'Breaking Bad'? 'Fargo' Ep. 1 Is A Must-See [Video]

Lindsay Lohan's Mother, Dina, Loses Driving Licence After Pleading Guilty To DUI

A member of the Lohan family has ran into trouble with the law, yet again...

Lindsay Lohan's Mother, Dina, Loses Driving Licence After Pleading Guilty To DUI

The First 'Gone Girl' Trailer is Weird And Different To Other Trailers

“I did not kill my wife!” exclaims Ben Affleck in the first official trailer for David Fincher’s...

The First 'Gone Girl' Trailer is Weird And Different To Other Trailers


More recommendations