Smiley Face

"OK"

Smiley Face 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.



Smiley Face

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 16th January 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $8.8 thousand

Distributed by: First Look Media

Production compaines: Desperate Pictures, Anonymous Content, ApolloProMovie & Co. 3. Filmproduktion

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Alix Madigan, Henry Winterstern

Starring: as Jane F., as Steve the dealer, as Brevin, as Casting Director, as Himself (voice), as Steve the roommate, as Bus Driver, as Albert, as Mikey, Scott 'Carrot Top' Thompson as Himself, William Zabka as Prison Guard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.