Sunday, April 06, 2008

Smiley Face: Grade C

Smiley Face (2007)
Anna Faris, John Krasinski. Director Greg Araki

In this fluffy stoner comedy Faris eats a plate of “electric” cupcakes by mistake and is completely stoned when the movie opens. She remains stoned for the whole rest of the day. Never mind that marijuana dosage is not additive like that or that it would be pretty hard to stay high for a full day on any single dose. It’s a “I am so high” joke and you have to accept that premise.

Her agent reminds her of a big audition, which she will have to do stoned, and her pot dealer (who pontificates on Reagonomics) warns her to be at Venice beach by 3pm to pay the money she owes, “or else.” The audition is hilarious. While trying to bum a ride to Venice, she runs into Krasinski (“Jim” from The Office), who gets her involved in some adventures ranging from a trip to the dentist to acquiring a rare manuscript copy of the Communist Manifesto. There are some subtle political jokes there. But I enjoyed the parody of the Scary Movie series, (which was already a parody). Faris starred in those movies and here she makes good fun of herself, if you are alert to what’s going on. Instead of monsters and chain-saw killers, the “horrors” are the sounds of the dentist’s office and its wood-paneled waiting room, squalid offices, the Marxist professor’s suburban wife, a ride on a city bus, and so on. It's funny satire, helped a lot by Faris’ Scary-Movie-like mug shots and physical acting. The stoner jokes involve well-worn references to memory loss, munchies, present momentism, lack of motivation, and so on. There are a few funny lines, but most of it is pretty lame. Still, Faris’ self-parody keeps the ball rolling even though the story is ultimately pointless. There is no character or relationship development. Krasinski seems utterly lost.

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