Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2007 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 25th, 2008
A Comedy About the Burning Bush
Okay, this is a strange one. I'm not entirely sure how to classify Totally Baked. I suppose it's a comedy, but its narrative is hackneyed. The film is made up of a series of comedy sketches, live stand-up comedy bits, candid real-life interviews, flashing facts and figures and a brain-murdering cameo by the unfunniest comedian in the history of the art form, Ant. In that way you could compare Totally Baked to something like Kentucky Fried Movie.
But only a small way.
See, at its heart Totally Baked is an informational, pseudo-documentary proclaiming the virtues of marijuana legalization. These messages are -- pardon the pun -- blunt to be sure, usually flanked by cited facts and pro-pot proselytizing, but wrapped up in a quilt of -- pardon the pun -- half-baked slapstick comedy.
Despite the all-over-the-place, sketch-heavy storytelling there is one major plotline that flows through the film. An uptight guy and his overly judgmental debate team from high school have a reunion that is cut short by a pair of carjackers and medicinal-marijuana-legalization activists who proceed to flummox their captives with valuable trivia related to weed, eventually shaking these conservative nerds free of their self-imposed moral restraints so they can fire up the bong and ogle topless women (topless for a reason I'm currently unsure of).
The messaging is unsubtle, and the arguments are executed with mixed effectiveness; there's a lot of "well¸ tobacco and guns and alcohol kill a lot more people and those are all legal" and those tactics fail to impress. Anti-pot folks will no doubt remain unchanged in their perceptions. And I'm willing to wager that most anti-legalization folks -- Beware! Broad Generalization Approaching! -- are likely on the social conservative side and a couple of blonds floating on an inflatable raft with their breasts hanging out probably won't convert them. For those already singing in the pro-pot choir, you'll no doubt be on board with what is offered up here.
Me? My libertarian inclinations don't find much objectionable to marijuana legalization -- medicinal in particular -- and I tend to be unimpressed with most of the "gateway drug" arguments (which are addressed here). On the flip side, I'm reluctant to celebrate getting high to the extent that it's lauded here. I mean, hey, politically I'm with you fellas, but it doesn't mean I want my son loafing around with his face planted in Grade-A cannabis instead of doing his geometry homework.
On the comedy side, Totally Baked is a disappointment. Very rarely are the sketches actually funny, the stand-up comedy is uniformly horrible and did I mention Ant is in this, killing my soul?
The DVD is serviceable. 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo for the technical features, which look and sound fine. Extras: a brief making-of documentary and a batch of cast interviews. And the disc case smells like weed.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Cast Interviews