After the serious concerns of his last film Mysterious Skin, which dealt with the effects of childhood sexual abuse, Gregg Araki opts for a (presumably) therapeutic blast of wacky comedy. With a madcap script by Dylan Haggerty and a bubbly and inventive performance from Anna Faris, as well as a succinct running time, Smiley Face manages to sustain itself, and only the hard-hearted and humorless would feel that it overstays its welcome.
Faris plays an unsuccessful actress who is having a bad day. Events spiral into the surreal when she treats herself to the cupcakes left by her strange roommate (Danny Masterson). The snacks are laced with pot—but she is unaware of the potentially disastrous effects that loom. Suddenly she finds herself trying to repay an unforgiving drug dealer (Adam Brody) while attending an audition and finding a replacement for the cakes (her roommate needs them for a sci-fi convention, if you must know). She is helped in her various quests by her roommate’s friend (John Krasinski) who seems to be infatuated by her and proceeds to complicate her life even further.
Although a rather flimsy confection in the final analysis, Smiley Face just about gets by thanks to the playing of a stalwart cast, especially Faris, who provides convincing proof that she can carry a film with aplomb. Audiences who are into stoner flicks will be on cloud nine.
Distributor: First Look
Cast: Anna Faris, Danny Masterson, Adam Brody, Jane Lynch, John Krasinski, Marion Ross, Michael Hitchcock, John Cho, Danny Trejo and Roscoe Lee Browne
Director: Gregg Araki
Screenwriter: Dylan Haggerty
Producers: Henry Winterstern, Kevin Turen, Steve Golin, Alix Madigan and Gregg Araki
Rating: R for drug content, language and some sexual material
Running time: 84 min.
Release date: November 16, 2007 LA