Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So me and my wife are in line at the bank one day a few years back and I’ll be DAMNED if Roscoe Lee Brown weren’t standing in line at the teller window making a transaction. I nudge my lady and point to the man and say ‘baby, that’s Roscoe Lee Brown over there’. My wife looks at him and disagrees thinking it’s just some generic bald head old Black guy. But no, as I told her, "Take a close look at that Grinch looking son of a bitch. That’s Roscoe Lee Brown. I’m about to get his autograph". You woulda thought I told her I was about to take a piss in the lobby the way she was carrying on. I will admit that in this crowded bank I was the only one who noticed Roscoe Lee Brown making a withdrawal, but then obviously these bank customer drones aren’t nearly the alert film buff that I am. Obviously. Also, if it wasn’t Roscoe Lee Brown, which I know it was, but if it wasn’t, asking him for an autograph might have been a tad bit embarrassing. As it is the story of my life, I allowed my personal Dream Crusher to talk me out of getting Mr. Brown’s autograph. Damn. Because in April of 2007 Roscoe Lee Brown passed away from this earth thus forever robbing me the opportunity to meet him and say ‘Remember that day you were in Detroit at the bank…’ Alas before the mellifluous Mr. Brown ascended to the next plane he lent his voice to director Greg Araki in his stoner picture ‘Smiley Face’.

Our film opens with Jane (Anna Faris) sitting on a Ferris wheel – I know this has nothing to do with jack shit, but Microsoft Word insists that I capitalize the word Ferris thus prompting me to do research and find out about the gentlemen, who must be named Ferris, invented this thing and thus lent his name to the most worthless of all the carnival rides. Focus Chris. Focus! So Jane is stoned out of her mind, sitting on the wheel talking to the voice of Roscoe Lee Brown wondering why the hell she is up on the wheel. Of course it’s time to take a trip through Jane’s minds eye to experience the events that led to Jane’s present situation.

Jane is an actress of sorts who likes to smoke pot. A lot. Jane’s roommate Steve (Danny Masterson) is a demonic Star Trek nerd who is having a geek / nerd party and has made a plate of cupcakes that he has specifically instructed Jane not to eat. Well Jane is a pothead and I’m told pot makes you hungry so those cupcakes are history. Jane decides that she should make some more cupcakes and draws up a plan to make more cupcakes with number one on her list of tasks being buy more pot. This need to replace those cupcakes sets in motion series of spectacularly catastrophic ‘only in the movies’ type events ranging from the crushing of a child’s toy car to the theft of Marx’ original text of the Communist Manifesto. And there you go.

A few things about ‘Smiley Face’. One is I had no idea that the Stoner Community was so vocal. Do a little Google research on ‘Smiley Face’ and you will read numerous comments from self proclaimed stoners complaining about Faris’ performance reporting that stoners don’t act like that and this film was made by people who have never been high. Apparently when marijuana smokers stop being stoned they just get really angry. Toke it up bro and relax because I think that this is a movie and not documentary on the intricacies of stoner behavior. Of course this is coming from someone who’s never been stoned before (I don’t need drugs to make me do stupid shit) so my opinion I’m guessing has no legitimacy. Another thing I’ve learned after watching ‘Smiley Face’ is that apparently I like stoner movies. ‘Puff Puff Pass’, ‘Harold and Kumar’, ‘Dazed and Confused’, Jeff Spicoli, the original stoner… Stoner movies make me laugh, and there was some seriously funny stuff in this flick that had my side hurting. The movie overall was stupid and fairly worthless but it did make me laugh. Another thing is who in the HELL is Natashia Williams? She has a small role in this movie giving Jane a ride on her motorcycle and I’m thinking what a beautiful face that woman has, since that’s all we can see. Well again, a little research and a Google Images query reveals that this former Wonder Bra model has a beautiful EVERYTHING! Even the space between her toes is sexy.

Indie director Greg Araki surprised the film world with his surprising film ‘Mysterious Skin’ a few years back having film critics thinking that his juvenile film making days were over. So much for that theory as flicks don’t get anymore juvenile than this. My only problem with this film, understanding that it IS a stoner flick, is that he probably should have put comic genius Danny Masterson in more scenes. He cracks me up for some reason. And shouldn’t there come a time when Jane’s high should wear off? Just a random question from someone who has never been stoned.

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