Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Smiley Face on DVD January 8th

I like Anna Faris. I've never seen any of the Scary Movies (not a fan of that genre), but I liked her in Lost in Translation (Wasn't that amazing how she managed to make the gorgeous Scarlett Johannson look gawky? Awesome acting on Scarlett's part as well...), her appearance on Friends and most recently her part on Entourage where she played--um, herself. But she did a really good job!

So I thought her starring turn in the slacker/stoner comedy Smiley Face might be amusing. I was wrong. Despite a talented cast that includes John Krasinski of The Office (channeling a Dwight-like character here of a geeky guy with a crush on Anna's slacker girl), Danny Masterston (That 70s Show), Adam Brody (The O.C.) playing Steve the Dealer, the ubiquitous Jayma Mays (Heroes, Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies, Studio 60), John Cho (Harold and Kumar, Ugly Betty) and even Mrs. C. a.k.a. Marion Ross (the one bright moment!), this movie was not funny. Not even fitfully. Or stupidly. Although it was stupid. Just not stupid funny.

Before you get all, "Well, Stella--what do you know about stoner comedies?", I'll offer this by way of full disclosure--not much. Although most famous stoner comedies seem to feature male pairs--Cheech 'n Chong, Bill and Ted, Harold and Kumar. Smiley Face breaks the genre tradition by offering a solo female protagonist. But while I'm not all that familiar with the stoner/slacker genre (excepting Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused for example), I do know funny. And not just high-falutin' funny like Frasier or Oscar Wilde or Steve Landesberg. I can get into stupid funny as well--Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Blades of Glory, Borat. Unfortunately Smiley Face wasn't even up to that level. It may not have even been up to Harold and Kumar standards.

The press is calling it After Hours for a new millennium. Whoa! Really? After Hours was dark and edgy and twisted and directed by SCORSESE for fuck's sake. (Oddly enough, Smiley Face was directed by Gregg Araki who did a fine job helming Mysterious Skin. Go figure...)And while, like Smiley Face, it wasn't exactly "funny," it was surreal and bizarre and definitely one helluva ride. Smiley Face is bright, sunny California--and the only ride is found at the end at the top of a ferris wheel. The plot is this: stoner/slacker girl gets the munchies, eats her scary roommate's cupcakes which have pot in them (Pot in cupcakes? Who does that? And in yellow cupcakes to boot...), which mean even MORE pot in her, and then while stoned beyond belief must replace said cupcakes, go on an audition and meet up with her drug dealer at a Hemp Festival in Venice to pay the money she owes or else he'll repossess her furniture.

Maybe it's funny if you watch it while you're stoned. Or buzzed. Or after having a partial lobotomy. I don't know. It was barely 80 minutes long--but that's about 79 minutes more than necessary. Still, if you're an Anna Faris fan--or a slacker/stoner genre fan, it might be worth Netflixing. Just remember to whip a batch of brownies to munch on while you're watching with a double dose of marijuana...

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