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Half Baked (1998)

DVD Cover (Universal Fully Baked Edition)
Genres:
Comedy, Comedy Of Errors, Stoner Comedy
Director:
Tamra Davis Tamra Davis
Starring:
Dave Chappelle Dave Chappelle
Guillermo Díaz Guillermo Díaz
Jim Breuer Jim Breuer
Harland Williams Harland Williams
Rachel True Rachel True

7.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 08, 2006
Dave Chappelle, who would later go on to make Rick James the most overused name in history, stars in tonight's stoner comedy that details a quest to bail a friend out of jail. The plot revolves around four potheads - Thurgood Jenkins (Chappelle), Scarface (Guillermo Díaz), Brian (Jim Breuer), and Kenny Davis (Harland Williams) - who share an apartment and also live the average stoner life of working a dead-end job by day and getting stoned at night. Their lives take a turn for the worse, however, when Kenny goes out on a munchies run one night and accidentally kills a diabetic police horse. Labeled a cop-killer and thrown in jail with bail set at a million dollars, this poor guy must contend with a huge bodybuilder known as Nasty Nate who fully intends to "make use" of the "fresh fish" that has just arrived at the prison. A martial-artist known as Squirrel Master (Tommy Chong) is able to protect Kenny, but a problem arises - the master is getting out of prison in eleven days. With the clock ticking away and with Kenny's anal virginity on the line, his three friends on the outside decide to sell weed in order to raise the required bail money... but yet another problem arises as we find out that Thurgood's new girlfriend Mary Jane (Rachel True) thinks that smoking weed is a horrible thing to do, and selling it is downright despicable. As if that wasn't enough, the threesome soon find out that the local drug-lord Samson Simpson (Clarence Williams III) doesn't appreciate this group taking away his business...

It's rather ironic that I'm not a fan of smoking weed or those that decide to center their lives around it, yet I always enjoy a good stoner comedy. I've seen a lot of good movies in the genre, and I've also seen a lot of absolutely horrible entries as well; however, Half Baked has been my favorite ever since I saw it during its brief theatrical run. I appreciate the work of Cheech & Chong and I've seen more than a couple of the other stoner films of the era, but none have made me laugh as hard or as often as the cast and antics found here. We all know who Dave Chappelle is, and while not everyone is a fan of the guy, I personally think that he's one of the funnier guys to hit the scene in recent years. His performance here shows why he went on to be one of the biggest names in comedy for a while, and his material here is just as good as the best segments from his well-received Chappelle Show.

The rest of the cast certainly doesn't slouch, however. Jim Breuer, aided with his lazy eyes, has the natural look of a stoner, so it should come as no surprise that he plays the brain-dead (even more so than the others) stoner of the film. Although he would have likely been pigeonholed into reliving this same role over and over thanks to his eyes, it's a shame that he didn't go on to do more in Hollywood; the man has excellent timing, and as seen in his various stand-up performances, he's a genuinely funny guy. Guillermo Díaz also turns in a hell of a performance, and while I'm not familiar with his later roles, he definitely shines here and manages to steal a few scenes away from the top-notch actors surrounding him.

Trying to point out what exactly makes a comedy funny or not funny is much more difficult than pointing out the perks or flaws of the films from other genres. The things that make me laugh until tears start to roll down my face may elicit no more than a brief grin or even nothing at all from others in the audience. While the delivery and the performance definitely come into consideration, the overall joke is either funny or not funny depending on how you view things and your personal preferences. However, I believe that fans of comedy will definitely get more than their money's worth with this film, and I'm proof enough that you don't have to be a stoner to appreciate it. For real, B. 9/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/17/2006, 02:23 AM
This one was pretty amusing. Harland Williams was going through his very brief celebrity during this point and this film shows that he really was a pretty funny guy when he wanted to be. I love Steven Wright popping up, and I think the flying scene is stellar. Made me laugh. 6.5/10.
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 05/27/2010, 11:43 PM
That poor damn horse. 9/10
Rest Easy Soul #3: Rest Easy Soul - added 07/25/2010, 11:08 AM
One of the better weed movies.
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