Alex's Sundance 2010 Review: John Stalberg's HIGH School
by Alex Billington
January 26, 2010
Ah yes, the always brilliant, always hilarious stoner comedy. So if you actually took that sentence seriously, then you probably won't like this film. Personally I'm a fan of good stoner comedies and appreciate their dumbed-down but always entertaining humor, even if everyone involves a person (or people) getting stoned and being idiots. That's what happens in John Stalberg's High School once again, but they up the ante by getting an entire high school stoned this time. And exactly as expected, it was hilarious. In fact, it's probably one of my all-time favorite stoner comedies (alongside of Half Baked and Pineapple Express among others).
High School tells the story of Henry Burke (Matt Bush), the soon-to-be valedictorian in his last days of high school. Henry reconnects with an old friend and ends up smoking his first joint, but the stuck-up principal (Michael Chiklis) decides to drug test every student and expel those who have abused any substance. Henry freaks out because he'll lose his valedictorian status and MIT scholarship and eventually hatches a plan to get the entire high school stoned. But where do you find that much marijuana? Well, you steal it from the local crazy drug dealer Psycho Ed (played by Adrien Brody). That's the setup and it snowballs from there.
While you shouldn't expect anything brilliant (it is a stoner comedy after all), everything in High School was pretty much pitch perfect comedy. The soundtrack was awesome, the characters are all developed well, and the story takes some unexpected twists and turns. It's not a spoiler to say that he does indeed get the entire school stoned, because the most entertaining part of this was watching the madness over that entire day (as every student, teacher, and everyone else in the area ends up high as a kite). And the plot isn't a simple "get everyone stoned, get off scot-free" scheme, there's some interesting (and amusing) problems that arise.
If you were looking forward to this based on the concept alone, then I'm certain you'll enjoy it. I don't know if you'll love it as much as I did, but I guarantee you'll have a good time, just because the execution is as good as (if not better) than the concept. All of the performances are great, from the tattooed, drug dealin' Adrien Brody to the wig wearin', mustache sportin' Michael Chiklis. And there's even appearances by Colin Hanks, Andrew Wilson, and Yeardley Smith (who voices Lisa Simpson). Overall I had a blast watching High School and will be looking forward to eventually adding it to my stoner comedy collection whenever I can.
Alex's Sundance Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 8 Comments
I've been looking forward to this since you posted the trailer! Looks fun. Any news on distribution or when it'll be widely available?
Voice of Reason on Jan 26, 2010
haha im just now finding out about this movie, sounds great. ill see it just to watch adrien brody play a tattoo'd drug dealer, thats comedy gold right there
harrison on Jan 26, 2010
Just another Drug fess for me if you have seen pineapple express. I don’t know why people watch this film if you go in to any district or any town there is someone high on Drugs or alcohol I would not pay to see this kind of Rubbish. 😀
cineprog on Jan 26, 2010
duly noted cineprog. You will not see this kind of rubbish, got it.
Xerxex on Jan 26, 2010
I saw this movie at Sundance. Wow was it bad bad bad... this reviewer must have been high.
Jason on Jan 28, 2010
I saw this movie at Sundance as well. I thought it was hilarious. I wasn't high and I recommend seeing it. It's another entertaining stoner comedy but with Adrien Brody as a drug dealer. Awesome!
Eric on Jan 30, 2010
Not only is this film going to be awesome everyone involved in the making of it is awesome as well I don't think I need to say "congrats Jason" because it's already a 10
Jennifer on May 21, 2010
you mom sucks my dick for money hahahaha
jaydee on Jun 11, 2010
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