Cinedelphia’s resident high school student film critic reviews the new stoner comedy High School…
High School is the newest addition to the already large and repetitive collection of stoner comedies Hollywood has to offer. With a very fitting title, High School shows exactly how wrong one can present a stoner comedy, as if the writers were high themselves while writing it. The cast mainly consists of relatively unknown actors with a few big names such as Adrien Brody as Psycho Ed, Michael Chiklis as principal Dr. Gordon, and Colin Hanks as Gordon’s dutiful assistant principal Brandon Ellis. The story is lead by valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush) and infamous pothead Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) as two seniors on a mission to save themselves from expulsion. Though the film presents itself as a comedy, it’s more of an experience to be felt whilst high yourself.
It starts off with Charlyne Phuc (pronounced as it sounds), a student at the same school, getting caught high in a public spelling bee event. This disgraces the school and prompts the principal to shut down all illegal drug activity by expelling any and all students who fail a mandatory drug test. Burke and Breaux, two polar opposites who are somehow best friends, attempt to fight back by getting everybody in the school high on the day of the tests so as to blend in with everyone else. Psycho Ed is (barely) introduced as a genius turned stoner who sits at home all day smoking and talking to his pet frog. The two kids steal from his stash of drugs for their plan but don’t see the end of him yet. As the school progressively gets more affected by the drugs, Burke and Breaux find themselves in several more complicated and unnecessary subplots that annoyingly drag the film out to a 100 minute running time.
On the whole, the acting was nothing less than poor. Most of the supporting cast hardly care to try, with a complete lack of emotion or effort on their part. Bush and Marquette both give rather bland performances with nothing special to boast about. Chilkis is strange and unsuited in his role while Hanks should be making better use of his time in a more challenging film. The director also seems to have lost control of Brody during filming, as his acting was crazy, over-the-top, and far too wild. Too much energy is put into the film on his part. The film’s main premise lasts for about a half hour, if that, and is soon lost to the constant zigzagging of characters and plots. At one moment you’re watching the main characters try and sneak into the principal’s office, but before they do that they have to find the principal’s wife, but before THAT they have to stop a fellow student from ruining their secret. It’s exhausting to say the least and loses the audience’s attention quite quickly. Generally, the comedy in the film is stale and unfunny. It’s basically constant pot joke after pot joke, which have been more cleverly written in films such as Pineapple Express. Only a couple of reoccurring jokes will leave you laughing or asking “Where the f**k is the administration office?”
To clarify, the film has a weak plot that is not at all supported by the cast. The acting is dull, misused, or far too uncontrolled (*cough* Brody *cough*). The film attempts to create an emotional background for the characters (including a very quick and unnecessary love story) but it is either too unbelievable or too ridiculous. The director doesn’t even try to construct the film’s story in a coherent way, which leaves it a long, jumbled mess. It seems the only possible way to enjoy this film is to be high, which the writers and director appear to have been during production.
High School is out in Philly-area theaters today.