- Adrien Brody
- The Cast
- The Comedy
- The Storyline
- Mary Jane
Writers: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg, Stephen Susco
Cast: Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Collin Hanks, Adhir Kalyan
Cinematographer: Mitchell Amundsen Editor: Gabriel Wrye Original Music: Harold Faltermeyer, Freescha, The Newton Brothers
In the leaves of stoner comedies it is often difficult to bring a feature around the fact that everything evolves around marijuana. It’s not easy to rise above the genre and capture the audience with more than exaggerated plots and clichéd humor. Few pot movies are laced with something great, but when it’s right on the money, like Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, all falls into place. High School is the latest film to join the ranks of this blazing genre.
Falling short of Dazed and Confused, yet rising above the bottom of the bowl, High School is a comfortable mix in the realms of stoner comedy. The film failed to reach past the clichés surrounding the genre; however, it still managed to suit fine and was not a complete bust. Lack of originality was the film’s biggest problem.
After an unfortunate collision with one another, high school valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush) reunites with childhood friend Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette), who is now a ‘lazy stoner with no future.’ After detention following the incident, Travis invites Henry to go back to their old tree house and reminisce on an old lock box. Upon opening the nostalgia from this childhood treasure chest, Travis convinces Henry to smoke some marijuana to accompany the moment. Burke takes his first tokes from the joint and the trip begins.
The next day their intolerant High School principal decides to reach extremes by drug testing the entire school body resulting with the expulsions of any failures. With Henry’s MIT future suddenly in jeopardy the two young men come up with an idea to contaminate the drug testing.Their plan is to replace all of the brownies at the school bake sale with marijuana brownies in order to get the entire school high ultimately nullifying the results.
The character Psycho Ed, played by Adrien Brody, is absolutely brilliant. Ed takes the hierarchy with any scene he appears in. Psycho Ed is a math prodigy turned drug dealer. The first joint he smoked was apparently laced with an absurd juxtaposition of drugs, similar to a Jeffery, which resulted in him becoming a mental case and strictly selling drugs as a means of living. His entire body is covered with tattoos from head-to-toe, and he sports cornrows and a beard to accompany his crazy demeanor. The character’s first appearance was a refreshing break from everything else taking place. The hilarious Psycho Ed stole the show and without a doubt is the main reason as to why this film was not horrible.
Although the majority of the storyline can be summed up with the word “cliché” there is still something nice about the plot. What habitual pot smoker would not want to see their entire school body and faculty be submerged in the effects from THC? Of course the scenario isn’t exactly what I would call realistic, but it still makes for an enjoyable patch in the storyline. I found this part to be fairly humorous, but practically everything else is a strong cliché. The writing is a far stretch from the creative imagination and brings about a sense of second rate effort. Everything seemed so familiar it was as though I had seen it before on multiple occasions. A bit of a disappointment, but still way better than Mac and Devin Go to High School (2012), which starred Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg.
Besides Adrien Brody the other main characters were just okay. Henry Burke (Matt Bush) and his partner in crime Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) were honestly nothing special. In the realms of stoner duos, such as Pineapple Express’ Seth Rogen and James Franco and How High’s Redman and Method Man, this duo was of no comparison. The two made me laugh at times but overall they seemed to blend in with the rest of the film’s mundaneness. The typical nerd and the typical lazy stoner with nothing portrayed to bring them above their stereotypical connotations.
As a stoner comedy, the entire intentions are to evolve around marijuana and the comedic tendencies associated with it. Unfortunately, it was a hit or miss. There were times that I laughed a lot, and there were plenty of times that I wished I had never spent the time listening or watching. For example, in the first few minutes of the movie a spelling bee takes place. We see a young Asian girl smoking a joint then entering the stage to spell her word. Her name? Charlyne Phuc. Really? I know, real clever. Sadly High School is filled with incredibly unoriginal content such as this, but luckily not overwhelming enough to completely destroy the film.
Cliché on top of cliché on top of cliché
High School is like one big joint rolled mostly of clichés. Simply reading a summary of the storyline will foreshadow plenty of this. The MIT hopeful teaming up with the stoner who is practically a failure, the sexual connotation with the Asian student’s last name, the nerd who gets the girl of his dreams, the drug dealer who gets ripped off, the terrible one liners, the anti drug crazed principal, the list goes on. There were so many clichés that if you miss a bit of the film you won’t have to worry about rewinding. Chances are you’ve seen it before.
The Marijuana ‘Trips”
I wasn’t sure if I was watching a film about people tripping on acid or being incredibly stoned. The depictions of being high throughout the film were incredibly over exaggerated. It reminded me of a more subtle, but not as good as, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo are tripping off an absurd amount of drugs. When the scenes are not depicted in this exaggerated fashion they are still mostly terrible, filled with typical high dialogue that is well over baked.
Overall Score: 2.5/5
High School was nowhere close to the great films of this genre; however, it was far from the worse. I was not completely dissatisfied with the time spent watching this film. At times I laughed, and then there were times I thought I was experiencing déjà vu. The downfalls are the clichés and the familiarity of everything. If you’re wanting to laugh a bit and pass the time with a film that will not have you completely bored, then, absolutely, go rent High School. On the other hand, if you desire a film that will pierce your funny bone that’ll leave you wanting more, then please pass on this film because you will be sadly disappointed.