Smiley Face Greg Araki

Smiley Face Greg Araki
Lazy reviews try to pass Smiley Face off as an estrogen-injected Harold and Kumar. Save for the most basic elements of the premise, the comparison is tenuous. Sure, the film’s protagonist, Jane, is a ridiculously exaggerated stoner who needs to get somewhere and runs into a gaggle of baffling circumstances, but in tone and presentation, Smiley Face is far removed from the average, or above average, stoner film. To see Smiley Face as a simple silly stoner flick is akin to assuming that the only ingredient capable of producing a buzz in the tray of cupcakes Jane mows down to kick off her adventure is sugar. This is sexual comfort zone demolishing director Greg Araki’s take on a pot comedy. Anyone who’s seen The Doom Generation or Mysterious Skin will have an idea of just how odd it seems to have him helming this project. In the sole special feature, a "making of,” Araki explains that he needed to do something "lighter and more fun” after the disturbing and excellent Mysterious Skin. So that means only a little skull fucking and some of the strangest and most grim turns likely to be filmed for a stoner comedy. Anna Farris is fantastically selfless and hilariously idiotic as Jane, further proving herself as the most talented and loveable comedian of her generation. It’s hard to present a character so frustratingly stupid and sympathetic at the same time. From the moment she greedily devours the tray of pot cupcakes, which elevates her to extremes beyond her standard incessant stoner tendencies, to wasting painful amounts of time, money and weed trying to replace her creepy roommate’s special snacks, to blowing her acting audition and doing something odd with the Communist Manifesto (don’t ask), Jane has the audience on her side. Supporting roles are well cast, with John Krasinski of The Office, That ’70s Show’s Danny Masterson and Harold himself, John Cho. There is an odd mix of ingredients at work in Smiley Face but if you can handle a dose of campy ’70s anti-dope film satirising and bizarre Marxist metaphors with your silly stoner hijinks, by all means chow down. (Peace Arch)