Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 17, 2016)
Most comedies that involve marijuana take the Cheech and Chong approach, but 2016’s Baked in Brooklyn follows a different path. Recent college grad David Shapiro (Josh Brener) enjoys a good life, as he works at a steady job and lands a smoking hot girlfriend named Kate (Alexandra Daddario).
Though his relationship with Kate moves ahead, David loses his job and needs to figure out how to pay the bills. The young man pursues financial relief as a pot dealer, and he sells his wares on the Internet. David does well in this regard, which leads to a mix of complications.
I’ll admit it: I decided to watch Baked due to the presence of Daddario. An amazingly attractive young woman, I welcome any chance to see her, especially if romantic situations exist in which she might take off some clothes.
Does this happen? No. One scene teases us with a topless Daddario, but the camera angle leaves us unfulfilled.
So everything goes with Baked, an unsatisfying character tale. While it gives us a plot with potentially intriguing material, it fails to evolve in a compelling manner.
Part of this comes from its overwhelming sense of inevitability. Baked follows the “cautionary tale” approach, as we see David’s downward spiral and how his new “job” impacts his life/relationships.
Which would be fine if Baked brought anything interesting to the story. Unfortunately, it never manages to cobble together a coherent narrative.
Instead, Baked feels like a collection of thinly-sketched scenes shoved together to form a facsimile of a whole. Beyond that “downward spiral” motif, not much holds these together or creates material to interest the viewer.
The thin manner in which the movie forms its characters doesn’t help. Even our lead remains one-dimensional and never truly grows/changes – and the supporting parts receive even less development. We find little reason to care about the participants or to invest in their tales.
Best known for “tech nerd” parts in Silicon Valley and The Internship, Brener feels out of his depth here. While he does fine in comedic supporting parts, his style of dorky awkwardness doesn’t translate to the demands found in Baked.
And try as I might, I can’t suspend disbelief to imagine how a guy who looks like Brener nabs a woman who looks like Daddario. The movie vaguely nods toward the improbability of this connection but never tries to reconcile it, so the disconnect remains.
If that was my only complaint about Baked, I’d view it as a success. However, the movie suffers from a general sense of malaise and feels slow and long even with a brief 86-minute running time. Some parts of the film threaten to entertain but the end product lacks much merit.