Daily Schlock Vol. 3: Smiley Face

Smiley Face is a little film starring a pothead who runs into wacky situations while high and trying to get somewhere. Sound a little familiar? Well, click ahead to see if it’s anything to write home about, or simply a poor knock off of Harold and Kumar!

First off, I gotta say this is the hardest review I’ve ever written for some reason, so be warned that it might suck! Onto the review!

Smiley Face stars Anna Faris as the adorable slacking pothead Jane F. She’s apparently an aspiring actress, in at least she goes to auditions, but she’s also very much a slacker. She sits in her apartment, doing usual pothead things, like getting high, eating, and being incredibly fascinated by Second Life. The beginning of the film shows Jane getting high and playing Second Life, then decides to eat an entire plate of cupcakes that her roommate had baked for his Sci-Fi club, with a sign specifically telling her not to eat them. She devours all of them, not realizing they were filled with pot. She proceeds to try and buy more pot with the money left by her roommate for the utility bills, but it’s not enough. So the dealer agrees to loan it to her if she’ll meet him at the annual hemp festival that afternoon and pay off her debt. She attempts to use the pot to make more cupcakes, but is way too stoned to actually accomplish the task. The rest of the movie is her journey to the ATM to get out money, then her journey to the hemp festival.

If it sounds similar to Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, that’s because it is pretty similar. The main difference is that it’s a single woman, who’s stoned the whole time, instead of 2 guys who are only stoned part of the time. Just like Harold and Kumar, Smiley Face is also filled with an insane amount of cameos, and it probably has even more, even John Cho makes an appearance as a delivery man who gives Jane a lift in the latter half of the film. Luckily, the film does bust out a pretty consistent string of laughs as Jane goes from one point to another. We get to see such wonderful things as Danny Masterson fucking a skull, a talking cartoon pig on the side of a sausage truck, and somewhere in the string of events, Jane even attempts to get a job by going to an acting audition. Stringing everything together though is Faris’ hilarious narration/monologues. The narration is what really drives this movie for me, and sets it apart from H&K. The delivery is so perfect, that I would be willing to pay for a CD that is nothing but Jane F describing a series of events from her perspective. It’s a neat change to really get into the pothead’s brain in one of these movies, rather than feeling like we’re simply watching them run around stoned.

Unfortunately, it all kind of unravels when you reach the last ten minutes or so of the movie. While I wouldn’t say the ending is depressing, it’s slightly sobering after 1 ½ hours of a relatively light-hearted adventure. It also feels very off, because what happens in the end is somewhat serious, but it’s still handled light-heartedly. It gives the feeling that once the writer hit a certain point, he just didn’t have any idea how to end it. If you’ve seen the original ending to the movie Clerks(findable on the Clerks X DVD), it’s very similar to that, but not quite as drastic. Luckily, it’s not enough to completely negate the humor of the movie, but it is enough to make you feel very uneven when it’s over.

Smiley Face was a weird movie for me. I loved it as I was watching it, laughing out loud several times, and up until I hit the end, I was convinced it was one of the funniest movies I’d seen in a while. But once I hit the last 1/3-1/4 of the movie, and it’s building towards the end, that opinion slowly changed until I hit the end and was just sort of stuck staring at the screen, blinking, wondering WTF?! I wouldn’t say the ending completely negates the film’s quality, but it’s definitely enough to take it from a great movie to simply an alright movie. It is very easy to suggest if you like the Harold and Kumar films, but if you don’t like those, you won’t like this.

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