“Half Baked” is the quintessential stoner comedy, the king of kings – so it seems only noble and natural to recommend it for 4/20 next week.
The story begins with four best buds (pun intended) who begin smoking at a young age. When they mature into adults, not much has changed: they’re roommates inhabiting a colorful, trippy pad and regularly getting blazed. The trouble begins one night when sweet-tempered kindergarten teacher Kenny (Harland Williams), on a “munchie” run to the corner bodega, accidentally commits a crime. A stoner with only the best intentions, Kenny sees a police horse tied up outside the store and feeds it all his junk food. But the beast is diabetic – and drops dead. “Officer down!” his NYPD rider cries, sobbing on the sidewalk before arresting Kenny as a cop killer.
With Kenny in jail, his deadbeat roommates must find a way to raise $100,000 bail. Their solution? Become drug dealers. Thurgood (Dave Chappelle) has access to a government research lab from his job as a janitor, so they steal and sell pounds of medical marijuana.
“Half Baked” serves to proclaim the relative innocence of weed smokers; the characters are decent, peaceful men. When Thurgood meets a cute girl named Mary Jane (ha), she warns him that marijuana is a gateway drug, which everybody knows leads to harder stuff. “Yeah … mostly junk food,” Thurgood responds quizzically. “Half Baked” proves not all stoners end up dangerous degenerates who also enjoy cocaine and heroin. In fact, that stuff freaks these guys out.
The film is full of celebrity cameos. Bob Saget stands up in a rehab meeting and cries, “Marijuana is not an addiction! I used to suck dick for coke. You ever suck dick for marijuana?” Snoop Dogg plays a “scavenger smoker,” the type who never has weed of his own but always wants to take a hit as soon as you light up. Jon Stewart is an “enhancement smoker” who thinks pot makes every activity exponentially better. “Have you ever seen the back of a twenty-dollar bill … on WEED?” he asks incredulously. Willie Nelson, Janeane Garofalo and Stephen Baldwin also make sly appearances.
Anya Jaremko-Greenwold DGO Staff Writer