More entertaining than it has any right to be, "Half Baked" is a suprisingly hilarious stoner comedy that's helped along by some funny situations and performances from its cast. The plot is essentially non existent; a group of friends - led by Thurgood(Dave Chapelle) and including Scarface (Guillermo Diaz), Brian (Jim Breuer), and Kenny (Harland Williams) who sit around and smoke all day. Kenny gets into major trouble though when he feeds a massive helping of snack foods to a diabetic police horse. The horse proceeds to drop dead in the middle of the street and Kenny finds himself in jail.
The other three need to find a way to raise bail for Kenny - and a plan arises when Thurgood finds that the medical company where he's a janitor is testing marijuana. Selling it on the street, he eventually gets too far in the way of the local drug lord, who becomes more than a little angry that his territory is being invaded. Meanwhile, Thurgood meets a girlfriend in the appropiately named Mary Jane(Rachel True).
The film's laughs come from the fact that, besides a few creative sequences, the film is so silly and so deeply immature that I just can't help but laugh at many of the film's sequences, including an extremely funny parody of "Jerry Maguire". Performances are fine as well, especially Chapelle, who is hilarious. It's stupid, but it definitely doesn't take itself seriously.
VIDEO: This is a remarkably good transfer from Universal, and although there are some flaws, the majority of the picture is consistently excellent. Sharpness is first-rate throughout, and clarity is top-notch as well. The end result is a picture that is well-defined and perfectly smooth throughout. Colors are appropriately groovy, with well-saturated and bright colors looking eye-popping at times. Flesh tones are accurate, and black level is solid as well. The picture stumbles a few times with some very minor pixelation, but other than that, I've got no complaints with Universal's treatment of "Half Baked".
SOUND: The one fine element of the audio for "Half Baked" is the rap and r&b music, which sounds wonderfully deep and bassy, with a nice thumping beat that fills the room very well. Other than that, this remains pretty conventional in nature, with some fun, subtle use of the surrounds on occasion. There's not much else to it, nor did I expect too much from a comedy like this. Dialogue is clear and natural, as well.
MENUS:: As with many of Universal's early offerings, the menus here are pretty limited, offering very basic images from the film and a few selections to choose from.
EXTRAS:: The trailer, production notes as well as cast/crew bios.
Final Thoughts: If you're in the mood for a completely silly comedy, "Half Baked" is worth a rent.
The Film C+
Video 88/B = (352/400 possible points)
Audio: 86/B = (344/400 possible points)
Extras: 70/C- = (210/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: C+
DVD GRADE: B-