Smiley Face

Smiley Face (2007)
★★ / ★★★★

This movie is a smogasboard of cameos ranging from the most familiar names and faces–Adam Brody, John Krasinski, John Cho–to those whose faces are familiar but their names give us a hard time recalling–Jayma Mays, Marion Ross, Rick Hoffman. But this movie would’ve been a complete mess without Anna Faris. She once again proved to me–twice to this year along with “The House Bunny”–that she can elevate an average movie into a pretty good one. For me, Faris is like Steve Carell: both can stand in one place and not do anything but they never fail to make me laugh out loud. I was shocked when I found out that Gregg Araki directed this stoner comedy. It’s the complete opposite of the moody, serious, and masterful “Mysterious Skin.” What I like about this film is that it’s so random and pointless to the point where it got me thinking. I know it may sound weird but I thought this picture had something to say about the way we live our lives; how random it is, how things don’t quite go the way we expect them to be. When such disappointments happen, we may feel angry or sad or both, but by the end of the day, we should just be thankful that we’re alive–that we are able to feel these emotions and (possibly) learn from our experiences. Araki really shows his talent during some silent but exquisite scenes, especially that one scene when Faris was sitting on the beach, facing the wind and the sand as the sun sets. I’m really glad that a friend recommended this to me (he’s a big Anna Faris fan) because I decided not to add this movie to my Netflix upon its release since the premise sounded lame. Yes, it’s stupid and can go in a million different directions, but I learned to embrace its positives. It’s funny, the performances are pretty good (especially Faris), and strangely thoughtful.

3 replies »

  1. As you already know, I absolutely hated this film. No matter how hard I try to find something ‘strangely beautiful’ about the pointlessness of it all, I consistently fail to find any. To me, ‘Smiley Face’ is made up of little more than the oldest and cheapest tricks in the book (text screens, people who pose dramatically – or comically – instead of acting), and that gets tiring rather quickly.

  2. I can really understand where you’re coming from. I think if I wasn’t warned that it’s a potentially really bad movie, I think I would’ve been much tougher with it. I think another reason why I liked this film is that, at the time, I was craving to see Faris again because I just saw “The House Bunny.”

  3. It could also be that I simply don’t like the conventions of the (sub-) genre (to which I feel Araki is adjusting his movie). I did see a Mexican movie a couple of years ago though (‘Duck Season’) that had a rather fresh take on the genre. It’s worth checking if you can find it.

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