There are films that are made for everybody. There are films that are made for niche crowds like gore fans or hardcore sci-fi buffs. Then, there are movies, not many of them, but a few, made entirely for people who are in an altered state of mind while they watch them. Some films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas can work either way, but it helps to have had personal experience with drugs yourself. Smiley Face requires that you be having that personal experience while you watch it.
Anna Faris plays a stoner chick who spends all day every day high as Co-Host on unemployment check day. She lives her life in a perpetual haze, barely comprehending anything happening around her except for how it relates to her quest for unstressful hedonism. Her roommate, played with a dour arrogance by That 70's Show scientologist Danny Masterson, leaves her at the beginning of the day several notes...go pay the electric bill before the power gets shut off, not to forget to go to an acting audition, and most of all, not to eat the plate full of cupcakes in the refrigerator. She begins her day with a bong hit so you can imagine what happens to her resolve about the cupcakes. As it turns out, the cupcakes are packed with some really kine sinse, and Anna gets to be monstrously stoned. The film follows her day as she screws up one thing after the other making things worse and worse as she goes, blindly smashing about through life like a baked bull in a china shop.
Smiley Face is made by the love him or hate him director Greg Araki who is probably best known for introducing most of us to Rose McGowan (and her breasts) in his 1995 exploitation "comedy" The Doom Generation. While I haven't seen most of his films, Smiley Face, much like Doom Generation and Nowhere (with Donnie Darko's James Duval), doesn't really seem to have a goal. Much like Faris's character, it just sort of blunders about from one set-piece to the next finally petering out with a shrug. Appearances by John Krasiniski, Brian Posehn, Adam Brody, Danny Trejo, John Cho and others seem to serve no purpose except for the audience to say to themselves, "Look! It's so-and-so." There is a Carrot top appearance that literally they just say, "Hey look it's Carrot top!", and move on. I can't imagine going out of your way to add Carrot top to your movie. How high does one have to be to think that a moment of him is an improvement?
While I've pretty much just ragged on this thing so far, there are some good things to be said for it. Anna Faris plays a lot of her roles as a dingbat or just generally as an out-of-it individual and this part may be her masterpiece. She is so completely and totally in an annihilated stoner groove, that I had a hard time believing that she wasn't actually puffing on a TM behind the scenes. She is a delight to watch here, really capturing a pothead Alice in her adventures down the rabbit hole. There's a balance in a character like this between annoying stupidity and charming naivety and somehow she nails it.
Believe it or not, ol' Cyrus had some wilder days in his past and knows...oh yes he knows...what it's like to be so fried that even getting up to go search the kitchen for crunchy comestibles seems like a hero's journey. Long, hard, and fraught with peril. While I did not watch Smiley Face in this condition, my past experience tells me that this may very well be the Ultimate Experience for movie watchers currently residing on that plane of existence. In fact, that's the only way I can recommend watching it. I give this a Rental for most of us and Full Price for those in love with the sweet leaf.