Smiley Face (2007)

It's a pot thing. I guess I don't understand.

Perhaps, if I smoked pot, I would have found Smiley Face more amusing, maybe even hilarious. Regretfully, I don’t come with personal knowledge to truly evaluate the accuracy or the uniqueness of this comedy. Of the films in the pot smoking genre, I am only familiar with those of Cheech and Chong. I know nothing of Harold and Kumar. Yet, I find it interesting how both of these franchises, along with other stoner comedies often rely on a pair of characters where as Smiley Face places a great deal of faith in its singular female lead.

Anna Faris does an admirable enough of a job, but she alone cannot overcome a rather ho-hum script. One series marijuana fueled mishaps leads to another until the mildest levels of absurdity are reached. At its pinnacle, a surreal cameo by Carrot Top, provides the heartiest laugh I had for the whole film and that is not saying much. Gosh is that guy creepy.

Instead of laughing, I found myself spending more time scrutinizing the message of the film. While I certainly do not think director Gregg Araki intended for Smiley Face to be a message film. Actually, I can’t even figure out what drove Araki to make this film, other than a recent uptick in stoner films. Smiley Face is a far cry from Araki’s independent films of the 90’s. Whatever reason he had for directing this film, I am surprised that he would allow it to end as it does. By the end of all its zany events Smiley Face‘s message appears to be that if you smoke pot you will inevitably do some stupid things that end up getting you arrested and picking up trash on the side of the freeway.

This hardly seems like a progressive message. In fact, the negative outcome of this film does not feel to far removed from the 1930’s shock-films about reefer. Here, humor replaces fear, but in both cases the results are the same; a life wasted. Even though I don’t smoke pot, I find this to be a rather ridiculous outcome. Certainly most people who smoke pot, even lots of pot, do not get themselves into so much trouble. Most just end up watch something as brainfried as Smiley Face.


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