If I had to sum up this movie with one phrase, it'd be this: Run Lola Run on pot. It has the frantic pace of Lola, mixed with the marijuana themed goofiness of Harold & Kumar. Director Greg Araki is known for experimental-indie films, with a lot of homosexual themes. So it was sort of odd to see that he had "stooped" to a comedy best experienced in an altered state.
But right away I had a feeling that his specific filmmaking skills would lend itself well to the genre defined by Cheech & Chong. His films have always had a very strange feel to them, he has a unique view on the world, that he captures well with beautiful, offbeat photography.
The other main reason I wanted to see Smiley Face was for Anna Farris. I enjoyed her comedic stylings in the Scary Movie series, which quickly became unworthy of her talents. She's been great in smaller roles as well, but never had a lead role all to her own. Anna proves herself a comedy star here. She throws herself completely into this role of the slacker-stoner, who gets herself into a never ending series of calamities.
Anna plays Jane, a struggling actress, who spends most of her time sitting around the house getting stoned. When her roommate, played by Danny Masterson, in a role actually nothing like his 70's Show Hyde, leaves some pot-cupcakes sitting in their fridge; not knowing her roommate is also into pot, she gobbles them all up serious state of munchies. When it all hits her, she realizes that she has a bunch of fairly simple errands to run, but in her extremely baked state they seem monumental. There's a hilarious bit, where she gets in her car and all the horrible concisenesses that could befall her while behind the wheel, storm her mind.
From there it quickly goes downhill. She bumbles her way through the days tasks, with things getting worse and worse, and running into a bunch of odd folks, played by a great cast of cameos; including Adam Brody as her drug dealer, John Krasinski as a dweeby-guy who worships her, and Harold himself John Cho, gives her a helpful ride in his truck. But Anna is definitely the star of the film, she's utterly hilarious throughout. Most of the film's gags are worth a laugh, with a few falling flat; but of course the film will work better if you're in Jane's state-of-mind.
I'd have to say that Smiley Face might be the best made pot comedy yet; usually these sorts of films aren't that well made; they're simply in it for the cheap jokes. Director Greg Araki, uses his abstract mind to fill the movie with top-notch weirdness. The film ends with a bit of moral downer, that's unusual for the genre, and might be a bit discouraging to real stoners. But if you're into these sorts of films, you have to check it out.