Homegrown (1998) starring John Lithgow, Ryan Phillippe, Hank Azaria, Billy Bob Thornton, Kelly Lynch, Jon Bon Jovi, Ted Danson directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal Movie Review

Homegrown (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Hank Azaria and Billy Bob Thornton in Homegrown (1998)

Entrepreneurial Slackers

The synopsis I read for "Homegrown" made it sound like 3 stoners trying to do big business when their boss dies and they try to carry on his drug business. And in fairness that is what it is about but this isn't a stoner comedy but a crime caper which has the quirky factor of 3 inept guys trying to sell a crop of drugs by pretending their boss hasn't died. It is funny with plenty of entertaining twists and an equally entertaining selection of quirky characters played by a collection of well known actors such as Billy Bob Thornton, Hank Azaria and a scene stealing performance from Ted Danson. But whilst amusing "Homegrown" ends up a movie which tries to do too much, include too many ideas with some of them ending up weak and annoying.

Jack, Carter and Harlan (Billy Bob Thornton, Hank Azaria and Ryan Phillippe) work for Malcolm (John Lithgow), they take care of his huge crop of Marijuana whilst smoking a fair amount of dope at the same time. When Malcolm is murdered in front of their eyes they initially think someone is planning to steal the crop, so grab as much as they can and head to Lucy's (Kelly Lynch - Virtuosity) where they process and bag the product before selling it on. It leads them to think about the rest of the crop and discovering it is still there along with Malcolm's dead body decide to carry on as normal but with Jack running the business as if Malcolm had gone away. Unfortunately for the guys they have little idea about the business side of things and with Malcolm having been doing a deal with a guy called Gianni (Ted Danson - Loch Ness) they are not sure who they can trust seeing someone killed Malcolm.

Kelly Lynch, Hank Azaria and Ryan Phillippe in Homegrown (1998)

"Homegrown" starts as if it is going to be a stoner comedy as we meet are trio of drug growers chasing a rabbit through the marijuana field with machine guns. But it soon evolves and you realise that whilst there is a certain amount of stoner comedy the real comedy is of these three guys along with Lucy deciding to harvest the crop for themselves to sell on but keeping up the pretence that Malcolm is alive and in charge. It's fun from a messy love triangle which sees both Carter and Harlan sleeping with Lucy to Jack having no idea about the business side of things acting all business like, cutting deals and paying off cops.

But there is also more to "Homegrown" than just these guys trying to make out that Malcolm is still alive because we have lots of little elements and twists. So on top of the love triangle we have the mystery of who Ben is who they find sneaking around the crop and that leads to an amusing scene when he ends up shot. Then there is also the amusing set up of this community of croppers who all deal with each others and have a huge party where they all meet. And just for more fun we have the mafia with Gianni having cut a deal with Malcolm before he was shot to take the crop of his hands. All of these add a nice touch of mystery as we wonder who is behind the murder of Malcolm and with things becoming more complicated we have the fun of the guys becoming more and more paranoid as they begin to question each other. But for me there are just a few too many elements which don't over complicate matters but pad it out.

Where the real success of "Homegrown" comes is in the casting with the trio of Billy Bob Thornton, Hank Azaria and Ryan Phillippe delivering plenty of laughs as these stoners turned entrepreneurs. But whilst this trio are great it is also the number of other well known faces which makes it entertaining as we also have John Lithgow, Ted Danson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jon Bon Jovi, Judge Reinhold and Kelly Lynch. It is the fun of Danson as an over the top mob boss or Jamie Lee Curtis as a cropper which brings so many of the movies best laughs.

What this all boils down to is that "Homegrown" was a pleasant surprise as I thought it was just going to be a stoner comedy but instead got an amusing crime caper about stoners trying to sell a crop of marijuana. It's not so much that the movie is great but that it just works with the added bonus of a collection of well known faces in fun cameos to make it all the more entertaining.