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nostalgia for the 70s continues , as we see a revival of one of the decade's greatest achievements : the marijuana comedy .
however half baked doesn't quite run with all its brain cells , and will make you appreciate the questionable talents of cheech and chong all the more .
the plot follows the misadventures of four ne'er-do-well stoners .
there's the group's unofficial leader , thurgood ( david chappelle ) , scarface ( guillermo diaz ) , brian ( jim breuer ) , and kenny ( harland williams ) .
kenny gets into trouble , when , while on a munchie run , feeds his snack foods to a diabetic police horse .
when the animal keels over , he finds himself accused of killing a police officer , and facing a $1 , 000 , 000 bail .
his friends promise to raise money for a 10% bail bond , but have no idea how .
that is , until thurgood stumbles upon a stash of pharmaceutical marijuana being tested at the company where he works as a janitor .
soon the three guys are dealing dope to raise funds , while avoiding the cops and rival dealer sampson simpson ( clarence williams iii ) .
for a comedy , the film is pretty humorless .
not that it doesn't try . . . it's
just that the comic setups are obvious and the payoffs nearly all fall flat .
the four leads are nearly all playing the same character .
only williams stands out ( while still performing on the level of his humor-free comedy rocket man ) , but that is because he's imprisoned throughout most of the film , giving a much needed change of pace ( but mostly swapping one set of obvious gags for another ) .
to help out , the film is packed full of cameos .
steven wright , tommy chong , janeane garofalo , willie nelson , snoop doggy dogg , and jon stewart all make appearances at one point or another .
none of them work , beyond the simple " hey , that's _____ " level .
in fact the funniest work in the film comes from chappelle .
not as his bland pothead lead , but in his second role , as a pot-obsessed rapper , sir smokealot .
granted , it's pretty much a one-joke role , and there aren't a ton of laughs . . . but this film needs every one it can scrape up .
to top it off , and in a move contrasting with the tone of the rest of the film , thurgood is given a love interest , mary jane ( rachel true ) .
her role is that of the public service announcement : to inform us why doing drugs ( including pot ) is wrong .
her character seems fabricated merely as a defense to the " your film promotes the use of drugs " camp .
the film would have been better off by sticking with the " rebel " tone it so eagerly tries to claim .
yet , in the end , it doesn't really matter .
watching the film clean and sober , you are bound to recognize how truly awful it is .