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Stoned (2024)

-Written by Kyle Bain


Jenny (Ashlee Lawhorn) and Irma (Kennedy Hancock) are Stoned, and their decision making skills are lackadaisical at best. The two friends must now deal with an unscrupulous coworker–but drugs are getting the best of them. Can they solve their irritating problem or will they go off the deep end?


This stoner buddy comedy is reminiscent of the cult classic Dude, Where’s My Car?. It possesses the same imprudence and laissez faire attitude when it comes to its characters, and both Lawhorn and Hancock excel in their roles. I couldn’t help but picture Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott in their less-than-witty banter. The dialogue is odd, and it’s meant to be–and much about this wild ride feels intentionally corny and dimwitted. 


However, developing dialogue so cheesy and offputting is a task in itself, and Writer-Director J.W. Cox does a brilliant job of crafting this in a way that both frustrates and tantalizes. Cox provides his two leads in Lawhorn and Hancock with what often feels like gibberish, but that manages to possess a deeper meaning if you’re willing to look. The two actors deliver nearly every line with levels of sarcasm that allows viewers to see the symbolism and the hypocrisy within. Stoned is impressively simple, yet layered enough to appeal to cinephiles and deeper thinkers. 


Cox creates juxtapositional tones throughout the course of Stoned. This film is, again, simple–possessing a level of innocence that appeals to viewers and lends itself to a casual viewing session. However, the film is also incredibly dark, making light of some seriously demented themes that are often hidden in plain sight. Beneath the comedy that Hancock and Lawhorn create via their delivery exists something profound, something far more formidable than one might initially believe. This extends throughout the entirety of Stoned, and while the tones continue to combat one another from beginning to end, it leads to a deeper meaning. 


By the end of the film I took away a message of desensitization, something that has recently been on my mind. I’m not entirely sure that this was Stoned’s purpose or Cox’s intention, but the message exists nonetheless. I found myself attesting the often outlandish conversations between Jenny and Irma to desensitization as a result of the availability of just about everything online. I am concerned about younger generations (and sometimes even mine and older generations), about them becoming desensitized to so many harrowing events–altering our reality in an irreversible way. Stoned touches on this (again, intentionally or not) and expresses something truly genuine that viewers can take with them after the fact. 


Stoned is cringeworthy–and it seems that Cox was going for this. With levels of metaphor blended with unhinged characters and intentionally-wonky dialogue, Stoned is a film that gets better the more you think about it. After your first viewing you may roll your eyes or question its validity, but the film is powerful beyond its aesthetic. Stoned is worth your time, even after you're done watching. 


Written & Directed by J.W. Cox. 


Starring Ashlee Lawhorn, Kennedy Hancock, Alex Pham, Jim Foreman, Vince Hobart Smith, & Kira L. Wilson. 


8/10 = WORTH RENTING OR BUYING


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