Christian Robshaw takes a look at this rather uninspired stoner comedy about drugs that come from a different world…
In Star Leaf three friends discover a strain of marijuana that comes from outer space. If that sentence appeals to you, then you’ll probably like the film; if it doesn’t, then you won’t. Films like this one get made because someone thinks of a very silly idea, and a suitably punning title to go with it, and it’s guaranteed to find an audience on its premise alone.
The three friends – traumatised Marine James (Julian Gavilanes), soldier-turned-hippy Tim (Tyler Trerise) and Tim’s Twilight-loving girlfriend Martha (Shelby Truax) – take a trip into Washington state, partly to visit Twilight hometown Forks and partly to score some sweet, recently-legalised Mary Jane. But not just any wacky baccy will do; they need the very wackiest, growing wild in a nature reserve patrolled by eccentric Ranger Dave, memorably portrayed by director Richard Cranor. The Washington setting is used rather nicely, with some really luscious helicopter shots and far too many Twilight references. Truax is the spitting image of Kristen Stewart, and just as soon as I noticed Gavilanes’ close resemblance to Taylor Lautner, the film itself lampshaded it. The only missing trick is that Tyler Trerise looks nothing like Robert Pattinson, but as they say, two out of three isn’t bad.
The cinematography here is solid for what was clearly a highly limited budget. The visual effects, which are mostly unnecessary, are distractingly cheap, but it might be argued that the effect is to heighten the comedy. That comedic value largely relies on the assumption that smoking bud is the funniest thing ever, but clearly anyone watching the film will have already accepted that premise.
When Roger Ebert reviewed The Human Centipede, he refused to give it a star rating, stating, “I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is”. I sort of feel the same way about Star Leaf. I mean, it’s not as if it’s disgusting like The Human Centipede is, just that it clearly exists not so much to be a film as to be an ironic late-night Netflix selection waiting to happen. And those baked viewers won’t be judging it on its merits as a piece of filmmaking, but on whether it delivers on the space-pot premise. So what I will say is that, similar to the rather good druggy horror Shrooms, it has a surprisingly anti-drug message, about how blazing it all day long won’t make you happy no matter how dank the weed, it’ll just make you a loser unless you have inner peace. So the film’s demographic of stereotypical stoners might take that as a personal attack.
So what do you think about Star Leaf? Does it stoke your interest? Let us know in the comment box below and be sure to visit Christian’s site Mediocre Batman!