|Half Baked (1998)
Starring: Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams, Rachel True, Clarence Williams III
Director: Tamra Davis
Stoners love stoner movies, and if a stoner movie is any good, non-stoners will like it as well. "Half Baked" surely isn't an award-winning comedy with top-notch writing and a complex plotline, but it's damn funny. And while potheads the world over can quote just about every line from the film, you don't have to toke to appreciate "Half Baked." Though it certainly helps.
In a role that helped propel him to superstardom, Dave Chappelle plays Thurgood Jenkins, a Master of the Custodial Arts -- "or a janitor, if you want to be a dick about it" -- with the Frankensense & Burr Pharmaceutical Corporation. Thurgood lives in a New York City apartment with his three childhood buddies, Brian (Jim Breuer), Scarface (Guillermo Diaz) and Kenny (Harland Williams). After the guys take some hits off Billy Bong Thornton one night, it's determined that Kenny is on munchies patrol and, once Brian rattles off an obscenely long list of snacks (in one of the movie's funniest scenes), Kenny heads for the store, thoroughly baked.
Done shopping, Kenny sees a horse standing just outside the store doors and, being the kind-hearted kindergarten teacher he is, offers the horse some of his grub. Unfortunately, Buttercup is diabetic. Even worse, Buttercup is a police horse, so when he keels over after eating, among other things, beef jerky, graham crackers, sour cream 'n' onion chips, Haagen-Dazs ice cream bars, popcorn, two pizzas and a bag of Funions, Kenny finds himself behind bars, the local papers dubbing him the Kindergarten Cop Killer. Faced with raising his friend's $100,000 bail, Thurgood decides to steal and then, with the help of Brian and Scarface, sell medicinal marijuana from Frankensense & Burr, unwittingly creating competition for the local dealer, Samson Simpson.
Chappelle, Breuer and Diaz immediately click as the entrepreneurial trio, and each brings a unique personality to the screen, particularly Breuer, who plays the tie-dye wearing, droopy-eyed Brian to perfection. Rachel True, as Thurgood's new love interest Mary Jane (obviously), adds just the right amount of morality, while memorable cameos from Tommy Chong, Jon Stewart, Steven Wright, Snoop Dogg and, most notably (believe it or not), Bob Saget, work beautifully.
Written by Chappelle and real-life buddy Neal Brennan (the brilliant team behind "Chappelle's Show"), "Half Baked" stands with legends like "Up in Smoke" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" on the all-time stoner film list. Sure, "Half Baked" may not be as historically significant as its predecessors (if you can actually call "Up in Smoke" historically significant, of course), but it's got all the ingredients that any stoner movie worth its weight in bong water must have: funny characters, a quotable script and, naturally, lots and lots of pot.