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Half Baked: Fully Baked Edition

If you've ever been around a group of guys who are stoned, while being quite sober yourself, you already know what it's like to watch Half Baked (1998). Dave Chappelle and his co-writing pal Neal Brennan put together their first feature about the pot subculture, something they seem to have known a thing or two about, and perhaps it's a testament to how well they nailed it that it feels a little too much like watching a bunch of stoners hang out. Occasionally funny, mostly pointless, Half Baked is the wacky stoner comedy that tries to put an "adult stoner" spin on an area usually reserved for high school and college-age comedies. Thurgood (Chappelle), Scarface (Guillermo Diaz), Brian (Jim Breuer), and Kenny (Harland Williams) have been pals since they were small kids, and once they discovered the joys of getting high together at the tender age of 11, they've spent their entire lives sitting around getting high together. After sharing a humongous bong hit, Kenny kills a diabetic police horse by shoving too much candy down its throat and gets thrown in jail. Thing is, Kenny is a skinny white boy, and he won't last too long in the clink, so it's up to Thurgood and the others to get him out. The only thing they know is weed, so they start selling it, and before long they've attracted the attention of the biggest dealer in town, and the trouble starts. Here, at least, is where Half Baked gets in a few laughs. As they visit each of their clients, we're introduced to the various pot-smoking stereotypes through a few cameo performances. Jon Stewart gets the rare "quotable" scene in the film, as he plays an "Enhancement Smoker" for whom everything gets better when enjoyed "on weed." Chappelle himself plays Sir Smoke-a-Lot, the rap star that makes his drug dealers famous, along with regaling them with tales of his impotence. While in many ways a better movie than its peers Dude, Where's My Car (2000) and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), it's the same differences that make it a slightly less entertaining watch. At least those movies seem to revel in their stupidity, instead of attempting to redefine the stoner film for a new generation. Half Baked has its moments, and perhaps there would be more … on weed. Universal presents the second DVD release as a "Fully Baked Edition" release, with a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Supplements include an alternate ending, which just adds a little padding to the existing cut. Ten deleted scenes are found in a single 10-minute reel, offering slight variations on existing footage. "Five Minutes with the Guy on the Couch" is exactly that — five minutes of some guy who may or may not be Steven Wright (who plays The Guy in the film) sleeping on a couch. "Different Types of Smokers" is a series of five 30-second animated clips, which must have been intended as inserts into the film when Chappelle is cataloguing them. Finally, "Granny's Guide to Bakin'" is a silly 6-min. short film in which Granny cooks up food while getting increasingly stoned. In all, the extras seem rather dull, and the lack of a Chappelle commentary makes this release seem like an easy money grab by a studio with a hot property on their hands — not that you can blame them. Keep-case.
—Scott Anderson

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