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

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.