Nostalgia for the '70s continues in Half Baked, a light-headed comedy that joins films like Dazed and Confused and Up in Smoke in the venerable "stoner genre." The bawdy storyline proudly teems with sex and drugs, and is not intended for those who find no humor in marijuana use. Director Tamra Davis starts out the stoned story on a "high" note, as the four main characters discover pot during the ninth grade. Unfortunately, the structure soon collapses and the countless pot jokes become repetitive. The humor evaporates altogether whenever the film focuses on the tepid love story between Dave Chappelle and Rachel True. However, strong performances from Jim Breuer and Harland Williams elevate many of the bland scenes, and Chappelle's performance as Sir-Smoke-A-Lot is absolutely hysterical. The movie also features a number of wonderful cameos, including Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, and Snoop Doggy Dog. While Chappelle's film cannot rival those of grass gurus Cheech and Chong, many thick-skinned moviegoers in the mood to thumb their noses at political correctness may find merit in this drugged-out effort.
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So what happens when both David Chappelle and the features-packed DVD format get big? The answer is the Half Baked: Fully Baked Edition DVD, a solid disc whose fine stats end up a bit on the bland side when all is said and done. To its credit, it does feature director Tamra Davis doing an audio commentary, plus ten minutes of deleted scenes and an alternate ending, but from the smoking and non-smoking menus to the downright lame attempts at pot humor in the created-for-the-DVD extras, it all just gets to be a little too much after you spend too much time with it. Yeah, there's five minutes of "the guy on the couch" footage, but for every tasty deleted scene of a zombie dog puking pot, there's "Granny's Guide to Baking," featuring a crazed Granny going through pun-filled pot recipes (lame). There's something to be said about taking the good with the bad, but with junk like the "Different Types of Smokers" flash-like animation stinking things up this bad, it's hard to have a good taste in your mouth after laboriously making your way through the disc. Of course, the disc features a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer along with a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track, so it still works well purely on that kind of level. Chappelle fans will no doubt eat this up -- especially given the pushed back release date of the Chappelle's Show: Season Two DVD -- giving this product a good rack life a few months before everyone buys up the next set of the funnyman's hilarious hijinks.
All Movie Guide - Adam Goldberg
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