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Smiley Face (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


Starring Anna Faris, Danny Masterson, John Krasinski, Adam Brody, Dan Falcone, Jane Lynch, John Cho, Danny Trejo, Marion Ross, Richard Riehle, Natashia Williams, Brian Posehn, Rick Hoffman, Carrot Top and the voice of Roscoe Lee Browne.

Screenplay by Dylan Haggerty.

Directed by Gregg Araki.

Distributed by First Look Pictures. 88 minutes. Rated R.

I suppose it took some nerve on Anna Faris' part to take on the role of Jane – a blonde California wannabe actress who is completely stoned out of her mind throughout the running time of Smiley Face. In fact she seems to be having some real fun with the role.

Wish I could say the same for the audience.

Smiley Face is a reminder, if any is really needed, that people who are fucked up can be fun to be around for a little while, but eventually get to be a bit of a pain in the ass.

The film just surveys a day in the life of Jane. After toking up at like 10 in the morning, she gets a horrific case of the munchies and scarfs down all of her crazy roommate's cupcakes. The problem is, they were apparently pot cupcakes, so she is now completely stoned out of her head. Now she has to score some more pot to make new cupcakes, get to an audition and pay the electrical bill before it is turned off.

Of course, now Jane is slow, paranoid, hungry, broke, and spending way too much time looking at a lava lamp. Is it possible for her to cover all of the things she needs to do?

Of course, it isn't. She's a mess and Smiley Face is really about watching her melt down as all her plans fail miserably.

The point is made in the first ten minutes. Then the movie goes on for another 78, occasionally amusing but mostly embarrassing for the actors and the audience.

There really can be some funny things – like when Jane gets into a debate about Reaganomics with her dealer and explained that she was an economics major in college but became an actress because economics didn't work out for her. However, these moments are too few and far between.

There is a surprisingly large group of well-known actors here who check in with little cameos – John Krasinski of The Office as a nerd who has a crush on Jane, Danny Masterson of That 70s Show as her psycho roommate, Adam Brody of The OC as her dreadlocked dealer, Jane Lynch as a law-enforcement-obsessed casting director, John Cho as a worker at a slaughterhouse, Marion Ross of Happy Days as the mother of a professor. Even Carrot Top just happens to be walking by at Venice Beach. I'm not sure why, exactly, all these people felt the need to join in – very few of them have anything of any significance to do.

We are supposed to sympathize with Jane – I think – because her massive stonedness was not completely her fault. Yet it doesn't really work. The more we watch Jane, the more we believe she deserves all the shit she gets herself into.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007 All rights reserved. Posted: December 25, 2007.

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