While I try hard not to make the obvious crack at a movie, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked really does feel like a movie that’s been conceived by a bunch of stoners progressively coming down from their rich buzz.
It begins on ecstatic notes. For one, Duane Journey’s horror/comedy has some delicious gore that had me squirming. It’s the type of execution that sets the tone for how much of a riot Hansel & Gretel Get Baked will hopefully become. The disgusting details in these kills don’t overstay. The great effects linger just long enough to leave an impression and your face in contorts.
Inflicting the pain is a witch disguised as a marijuana peddling old woman named Agnes. Lara Flynn Boyle plays the role with utmost joy; almost like she’s been waiting for a role like this. The production has caked so much withered make-up onto her face that she successfully stays incognito and pulls off a fun performance that’s consistently campy.
Molly Quinn and Michael Welch as a modernized Gretel and Hansel have no chemistry with each other and fail at making these characters interesting in the slightest, but I at least appreciated Journey’s attempt to make his two main characters detectives.
When Gretel’s boy toy goes missing after a weed run to Agnes’, Quinn’s hunt is what has us hanging on. The film focuses on this fragment of a mystery instead of grasping on to something bigger, but we’re still oddly hooked; mostly because we want to know where this wild ride ends up. However, the half baked investigation would’ve been more enjoyable if Quinn’s questioning hadn’t been so shrill and Welch had something to do other than snapping pictures and firing off lame quips.
Right as I was about to claim Hansel & Gretel Get Baked as a slight guilty pleasure, the energetic high tapered off. After about 40 minutes of Journey’s absurdities, it’s almost as if everyone collectively realized how complicated making a movie can be and how dumb the film’s concept was. You can feel the film’s giant sigh as it slouches and exhaustively tries to finish what it’s started.
Because everyone stops having fun, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked becomes a colossal bore as it wraps up each loose end as lazily as possible. A perfect example would be how two seemingly important cops are taken care of.
Even Boyle starts slumming with her role. As Agnes captures her prey, she sucks their youth out of them, which in turn makes her look younger. As more make-up is removed off of Boyle’s face, her excitement fades. It’s known that costuming and physical transformations can help inspire an actor. I believe that by taking this disguise away from Boyle, it affects her ability to perform well. Take a scene where a younger Agnes tries to seduce one of Gretel’s friends by flirting with her. It feels forced and the complete opposite of either sexy or funny.
Duane Journey and his dopey movie are not asking for much. They want the audience to have a good time. And, if those good times are heightened with the help of certain substances, even better! But, because the film doesn’t have the strength to carry its own weight to a point where it’s fed up with itself, the audience is snoozing right along with the lethargy on screen.