"And then people will ask why I have a picture of President Garfield on my wall, and I'll tell them it's because I like lasagna, of course!"
I've been watching all the buzz surrounding Smiley Face for some time now, following two positive reviews from both Monika (at Toronto) and Jette (at SXSW), and yet the film still couldn't find its way to theaters (with the exception of a limited run at New York's IFC Center). Part of the reason why I wanted to review the DVD was because, after all the wonderful feedback, I needed to see for myself why, in fact, Smiley Face was not worthy of a theatrical run. Aside from a great, marketable cast (including Anna Faris, Adam Brody, John Krasinski, Danny Masterson, Jane Lynch, John Cho, Danny Trejo, Brian Posehn and friggin' Carrot Top), the flick comes with a very funny script, some great edge-of-your-seat set pieces and plenty of memorable quotes (see above). So what gives? Why is this one heading straight to DVD (tomorrow), instead of enjoying some theatrical face time?
Well, the problem probably lies in the fact that it's a straight-up, unapologetic stoner comedy ... with the words 'cult following' written all over it. With its R rating (for foul language and massive amounts of drug use), Smiley Face would've been near impossible to market to a mass audience. That said, they could've cut together a "safe" trailer, and I imagine the critics would've liked this one -- so either the money wasn't there or First Look just didn't have enough faith in their product (it is a female-driven stoner comedy after all -- and those are rare). Dazed and Confused grossed only $7 million when it was first released in 1993, but the film has gone on to reach cult status among teenagers (that DVD was passed around like a joint back when I was in college). It's my belief that, while Smiley Face will probably not reach Dazed and Confused status, it will definitely find an audience on DVD and perhaps go down as the first great stoner comedy of the new millennium ... or at least give Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle a run for its money.