High School High

1996, PG-13, 86 min. Directed by Hart Bochner. Starring Jon Lovitz, Tia Carrere, Mekhi Phifer, Guillermo Diaz, John Neville, Louise Fletcher.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Nov. 8, 1996

In this new comedy from the producing team of David Zucker, Robert LoCash, and Gil Netter, who are best known for their Naked Gun sequels, schoolteacher Richard Clark (Lovitz) leaves the private academy where his father is headmaster, to teach at an inner-city public school, Marion Barry High. High School High contains much of the same kind of slapstick physical humor and topical verbal gags that typify the Naked Gun films, although it's questionable whether such hilarity is altogether appropriate when spoofing the inadequacies of the educational system as when spoofing the already fairly tongue-in-cheek, high-tech spy genre. Nevertheless, with its five-gags-a-minute pacing, sheer numerical odds demonstrate that some of these babies will hit their marks. Most of the best material is in the movie's first third, before the story gets bogged down in a dopey plot development about a drug ring overseen by the school's top administrator. As the school's principal, Louise Fletcher's hard-hearted villainy makes her old Nurse Ratched look like a perky little candy-striper. Lovitz is occasionally amusing, especially in his creative attempts to get through to his pupils, although his style of slow-take humor is a grave mismatch for this kind of frenzied comedy. As the love interest, Carrere bears the brunt of the movie's low-brow, physical humor, but lacks any flair for comic delivery. Although director Hart Bochner made his directing debut with 1994's campus comedy PCU, he fails to move to the head of the class with this new schoolhouse romp.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Jon Lovitz Films
Mother's Day
The movie is a moneymaking contrivance, just like the holiday itself

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 29, 2016

Casino Jack
Kevin Spacey stars in this entertaining romp about the career of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Kimberley Jones, Jan. 7, 2011

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Ash Is Purest White
The emotional cost of a life of crime across two decades in Northern China

March 22, 2019

The Wedding Guest
A simmering thriller of international abduction and pursuit

March 22, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

High School High, Hart Bochner, Jon Lovitz, Tia Carrere, Mekhi Phifer, Guillermo Diaz, John Neville, Louise Fletcher

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle