High School

2 out of 5 stars
High School

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Straight-A high-school student Henry Burke (Matt Bush) has a likely lock on valedictorian and early admission to MIT. But he’s just smoked his first-ever joint, the day before the insanely uptight principal (Michael Chiklis) has instituted mandatory drug testing. Only one thing to do: Get the whole school high. But how? That’s where stoner extraordinaire Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette), a gourd-pummeled drug dealer named Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody) and a mountain of pot brownies come in.

John Stalberg’s scattershot ganja comedy is the sort of crudely offensive farce that derives laughs from profane exegeses of William Shakespeare, look-who-it-is stunt casting (Booger himself, Curtis Armstrong, is one of the faculty) and an Asian character named Phuc (Ph sounds like f). Stalberg is very adept at two- or three-person interactions: There’s an Abbott and Costello–worthy exchange involving Henry, Travis, and Ed’s slaphappy repetition of the word what (initially croaked by a doped-up frog). But the film becomes sluggish whenever focus expands to the spaced-out students, who shuffle around with unconvincing purposelessness; they don’t seem genuinely narcotized so much as marking time between camera setups. Spurts of loony inspiration aside—Chiklis rivals Animal House’s Dean Wormer for pure hissable self-righteousness—this is mostly all reefer, no madness.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich



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