Backed up by a punchy drum rhythm and electric guitars, Lavigne offers even more reasons why most normal guys would run in the other direction, then praises her guy for sticking around. Lavigne asked her fans via Twitter what the next single from Goodbye Lullaby should be, giving the choices between "Push" and "Smile". Lavigne confirmed that "Smile" was to be the second single from the album though reports suggest Lavigne was fighting for a "Push" release. The singer's record label, RCA Records, announced that "Smile" will be sent out to Polish radio in April, with the same expected to happen in other territories such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, Asia, and the UK. She posted photos to her Twitter of the set of the music video, filmed on April 21. Due to the many uses of profanity in the song, different clean edits have been released.
Avril Lavigne - Smile
The official clean edit which is played on most radio stations replaces "Crazy bitch" with "Crazy chick", removes "Shit", and replaces "You're fucking crazy" with "You like it crazy". Another edit is the same, but instead of removing "You don't really give a shit", it is replaced with "You don't really give it up." Finally, the iTunes edit completely blanks out all profanity, as well as "Blacked out". Some radio stations and music channels also remove "What did you put in my drink?" Nadine Cheung from AOL Music said positively: "The new song represents Lavigne's best qualities as a pop star, while the tune incorporates talk-singing as well as the bold melodic choruses for which the 26-year-old is known." Andy Greenwald from Entertainment Weekly said that: "The sassy "Smile," with its talk of doctored drinks and blackout tattoos, restore Avril to her rightful place ahead of Katy Perry and Ke$ha." Scott Shelter from "Pop Crunch" was largely positive, rating it 9 stars (out of 10), saying that: "'Smile' is yet another catchy pop song from Lavigne, who's been scoring hits for nearly a decade now, far longer than most would have predicted when she hit the scene as a spunky teen with songs like 'Complicated' and 'Sk8er Boi.'"
Another positive reaction came from Lewis Corner editor of Digital Spy, who rated it four stars out of five. He commented that in the lyrics, she still maintaining her teen-brat persona rather worryingly at the age of 26", while naming the chorus "electric guitar-driven power-pop". He conclued that the song is "another effortlessly catchy soft-rock chant-along that is a welcome return to form". Josh Langhoff from PopMatters was more mixed, saying that: "More problematic is "Smile" and its bold pro-roofie stance." Marcus Gilmer from The A.V. Club was positive, saying that: "Lavigne exhibits some of the old spunk on "Smile," dropping a litany of curse words and asserting her right to be "a crazy bitch" who does "what I want when I feel like it."" Robert Everett-Green from The Globe and Mail said that: "Smile would have us believe that Lavigne is still ready to be really bad and kiss the wrong guy and maybe not even wash her hair for a day."
Jon Pareles from The New York Times commented that: "In "Smile," she slings four-letter words through a tale of rock craziness and love at first sight." Margaret Wappler from Los Angeles Times explains that "On "Smile," Lavigne celebrates black-out nights, possibly with her ex-husband Deryck Whibley, the kind that result in a new tattoo. She proudly calls herself crazy and out of control, before leading into a chorus that’s all gushy about love. The music video was shot on April 21, 2011, and was directed by Shane Drake. Lavigne uploaded videos on her YouTube account of the set of the video. On May 16, she posted a video titled "Ready, Set, Smile!". On May 17, she posted another video, titled "Smile & Style". On May 18, she posted the third video, titled "Graffiti Guitar", and the fourth video, "Avril Lavigne - "Smile" Behind the Scenes" was viewed more than 120,000 times in less than 24 hours. Lavigne premiered the music video on May 18, 2011 on her VEVO account. To date, it has spawned around sixteen million views.
The video begins with Lavigne in a white room, with various large black amplifiers behind her. She is wearing a black Abbey Dawn dress with yellow tiger print which says "Party Crasher", and black boots with neon green laces. She shakes a can of spray paint, and sprays a smiling face on the camera; two crosses which represent eyes, and a mouth. Lavigne decorates the walls around her with The Black Star Tour posters, and different words; for example "SMILE" in stencil, "Abbey Dawn", "tattoo", "fuck you" and "batch" (meaning "bitch"). Lavigne sprays different designs on the walls, such as love hearts, stars, and more smiling faces, and then plugs a red electric guitar into an amplifier. She sings the first verse in the white room, then makes her way outside into New York City. Lavigne is wearing a black Abbey Dawn t-shirt with a smiling face design, with two crosses representing eyes, and "SMILE" representing a mouth. She is also wearing standard black jeans, Converse All Star, and a tiara. Lavigne walks over to people looking upset or distressed, and takes a piece of a broken heart lying by them. When she takes the piece, they begin to smile. The scenes of Lavigne in the city are a grayscale colour, but the pieces of heart are coloured red. The video switches between those locations; Lavigne in the white room and in the city, the same theme recurring throughout the duration of the video.
Jeff Lapointe from MTV News was positive and says that "Lavigne is back to her heavy masquera and punk-like teenage look on a studio set which she decorated herself with color spray bombs, posters and a few props." Lapointe also says that the video is "energetic and love struck." Jamie Peck from MTV Buzzworthly commented that Avril is "learning to deal with things in a more grown-up fashion." Robbie Daw from Idolator wrote that "she’s a foul-mouthed pop tart with a heart of gold!." Daw perceived that "those couple-breaking-up-at-a-cafe references to Debbie Gibson’s 1988 “Foolish Beat” video." A positive response came from Billboard's writer Jon Blistein, who says that "It's simple, sweet, and unlike "What the Hell," wonderfully void of blatant product placement." The website Terra was mixed, saying that Avril is stuck in the year 2000 in the video and that "she is still trying to play dress-up like she did back when 'Complicated' made her peak."