An inquiry into our society's values that asks what happens when American optimism becomes stale conformity and mindless adherence to a status quo, "Smile" is never bleak. In point of fact it is an uproarious comedy, with a number of hilarious subplots, among them an initaition into a lame secret society, a sabotaged talent show act, and the misadventures of three acne-scarred would-be pornographers. A beauty pagent is an obvious subject for a screed against American superficiality, but Michael Ritchie crafts a film of greater complexity. One shy contestant is asked a loaded question about abortion in a Q&A with the judges, and she smartly wriggles out of it by playing the role of the sweet young thing, telling them how relieved she is that she wasn't old enough to vote during a recent referendum on the issue (thank goodness she can rely on her elders to make such decisions for her!). Here is a girl who can say what is expected without drinking the koolaid. "Shit, I'm glad it's over," her friend tells her when the final curtain falls, and we share their relief, glad that they can see though the chintz.