Published Sep 26, 2007Cinema needs another stoner comedy like it needs another remake. Dude, Wheres My Car? and Harold and Kumar pretty much wrote the book on the most fun you can have baked out of your skull but wait, there is another.
After establishing himself with disturbingly original flicks like Totally Fucked Up and The Doom Generation, the last few years have seen sensationalist filmmaker Gregg Araki reinvent himself as somewhat of a respected auteur thanks to 2005s poignant adaptation of Scott Heims Mysterious Skin. It appears that Araki is looking to continue growing with Smiley Face, his first foray into straight comedy.
Anna Faris (the Scary Movie series) plays Jane, a pothead with a pretty easy day ahead of her: go to her audition and pay the electrical bill. Feeding her habit at nine in the morning, Jane needs sustenance to get motivated, and scarfs down her roommates cupcakes, which just so happen to be "magic cupcakes. From here on in, Janes day gets more complicated than it should in a side-splittingly destructive chain of events that get her deeper and deeper into trouble.
Dylan Haggertys script dodges the typical half-baked jokes for a full on, bona fide experience of being stoned, exemplified best by a harebrained plan to hang up a portrait of President James A. Garfield on the wall. Supported by a cast that includes Adam Brody, John Cho (Harold and Kumar), John Krasinki and Marion Ross, Faris, whos proven herself a dependable comic actress, is cinematic gold as the navigator, going through the motions absurdity, hunger, paranoia and "bright ideas that lead her from a Ferris wheel chatting to Roscoe Lee Browne to absconding a copy of Marxs communist manifesto.
Much like the trajectory of his career, Araki keeps his film moving in a completely unpredictable direction while adding familiar stylistic quirks, like a hip soundtrack and some light-heartedly colourful visuals. Smiley Face wont earn him the accolades an achievement like Mysterious Skin did, but it should rack up a strong cult, possibly even mainstream, following, and hopefully shine some more light on Faris, one of the bizs most reliable comedians. (First Look)