I’m going to be honest with you: director Michael Hilf’s Smoking Wet is one of those silly comedies that I typically despise. But despite myself, this one works, and even better, I actually laughed throughout its brief runtime.
The movie, written by Hilf and Robin McDonald, tells the story of uptight funeral director Lois (Robin McDonald), who is left in a lurch when her assistant Gearld (Will Gressman) goes to Burning Man. On his way out, Gerald accidentally drops his stash of molly. Thinking it is aspirin, Lois takes a handful, and we’re off to the races.
“…accidentally drops his stash of molly. Thinking it is aspirin, Lois takes a handful…”
Lois has now transformed into a loose, free-spirited soul and must attend to the funeral services for Sunshine Marino. She finds herself needing to mediate the conflict between Sunshine’s twin brother Donnie (Mike Rad) and Sunshine’s gamer and skateboarding cohorts.
Smoking Wet really shouldn’t work on any level. It presents an outlandish premise with silly characters, and as time progresses, increasingly goofier things happen. But, it does work because Hilf is smart in his humor. Unlike those who have come before, the filmmaker puts the proper time and energy into harnessing the silliness into something genuinely hysterical. It works because each character is well defined, and the comedy comes from these characters. Jokes are rarely thrown out there for the sake of landing a punchline.
I might be overselling this, but good, intelligent comedies are hard to pull off. But when done right, like in Smoking Wet, they will stand out from the pack.
"…each character is well defined, and the comedy comes from these characters."