Half Baked Movie Poster Image

Half Baked

(i)

 

Goofy marijuana movie with weak plot.
  • Review Date: October 2, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 82 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Smoking pot looks a little too fun in this movie, and the consequences that the friends encounter are so comic that they hardly count. That said, the drug-using characters are low-achievers and negative aspects of pot use are mentioned, like mood swings, lack of motivation, low sperm count.

Positive role models

Mostly bad role models, not unexpectedly. Thurgood has a moral compass, however skewed. He insists that his foray into drug selling is not "dealing" but "fund-raising." And in the end, he quits pot because he recognizes that love (or is it sex?) is more important.

Violence

Lots of highly comic mock violence, including a standoff between the friends and a drug dealer with machine guns. No blood, nothing scary.

Sex

Thurgood has sex with his girlfriend, depicted in comically-posed still shots of the couple in underwear. He brags "Got some booty!" In one scene a woman's breast comes out of her shirt and everyone laughs and points. Some gay jokes.

Language

Everything you can think of -- all in a humorous, if casual, way. Includes "f--k," "p-ssy," "bitch," "ass." Also one scene at a drug rehab meeting, one character says he "suck[ed] d--k for coke."

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

All pot, all the time. The movie features bongs, pipes, joints, hookahs, and every other smoking device imaginable. Several references to other drugs, like coke and heroin, but they are considered "bad" drugs in the movie.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie reeks of marijuana. The main characters smoke an excessive amount of pot and make it look pretty fun, like when they discover a special kind of weed that makes them fly through the air like superheroes. Several celebrities make cameos -- Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Janeane Garafalo, Jon Stewart -- which would seem to condone drug use by these potential role models. One brief scene of young teens smoking a joint appears. Characters do have to deal with some consequences for their drug use, and in the end the main character gives up pot for romance. Gay jokes pepper the film, though they stick to stereotypes ("Don't drop the soap!") rather than hostile hate words.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Four loser friends who have been smoking pot together since they were teens get into trouble when one friend goes on a munchie run and ends up in jail after feeding junk food to a diabetic police horse. In an attempt to get the friend out of jail (and spare him the inevitable homosexual prison assault), the remaining three friends start selling pot that Thurgood Jenkins (Dave Chappelle) steals from the hospital where he's a janitor. Because their pot is so good (it comes from the hospital's clinic trials department), they end up so successful that they attract the attention of a rival dealer. In the meantime, Thurgood meets an anti-drug girlfriend whom he must lie to about his pot use.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This is the kind of movie that only pot smokers (current, former, or potential) will enjoy. The fragile plot is kept alive by the constant insider jokes, which range from clever (comedian Steven Wright plays Man-on-the-Couch -- an unknown guy who just sleeps on the roommates' couch throughout the whole movie), to dumb (the guys get a dog high).

Despite the movie's thin premise, Dave Chappelle is actually a very smart comedian, so he sticks all sorts of tiny details into the film that enrich it slightly. For example, in an attempt to get accepted into a clinical marijuana trial he tells a scientist that he's qualified because his grandfather was part of the Tuskegee experiments (when the US government used poor African-American men as test subjects beginning in the 1930s resulting in the unecessary death of many). These tidbits together with Chappelle's silly likeability save the film from horridness.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about drug use. The movie seems to say that pot isn't as big a deal as other drugs -- what do you think?

  • What does this movie teach about the experience of using marijuana? How realistic do you think the movie's depiction of pot use is?

  • Do you know anyone who smokes pot or uses other drugs? What's the allure of using drugs?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 16, 1998
DVD release date:February 15, 2005
Cast:Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Harland Williams
Director:Tamra Davis
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:82 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive drug content, language, nudity and sexual material.

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