High School

High School

2012, R, 97 min. Directed by John Stalberg. Starring Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Adhir Kalyan, Mykelti Williamson, Yeardley Smith.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 1, 2012

You come in hoping to toke on a big ol' fattie, but instead you find yourself wallowing in seeds and stems – again. Instead of putting the high in high school, this film is the kind of drug movie that gives pot smokers a bad name. Marijuana’s only effect here is to turn imbibers into blithering idiots. Ever since Jeff Spicoli graced our screens in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Richard Linklater gave us his wonderfully Dazed and Confused teens, filmmakers have been trying to capture the carefree cannabis essence onscreen, but most of what it’s led to is a bunch of reefer madness. High School is a case in point.

Henry (Bush) is the likely school valedictorian when he decides to inhale for the first time at the behest of his childhood friend Travis (Marquette), who has become a total pothead. Henry’s timing is off, however, since his lapse occurs the same day the principal (Chiklis – wildly overacting) decides to institute the mandatory drug testing of all students. Henry sees his future going up in smoke, so he and Travis concoct an addled plan to get the entire school stoned on marijuana brownies, thereby invalidating the tests. Their high jinks involve a drug dealer named Psycho Ed – played by Brody, in a twitchy, heavily tattooed, and entirely tedious performance that should be buried before they revoke his Oscar. Students, teachers, and visitors all become hopelessly wrecked, but little genuine comedy ensues. No contact high is acquired.

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 Matt Bush Films
Piranha 3DD
Barely a step above a second-tier Troma film, this is one catch you'd do well to throw back.

Marc Savlov, June 1, 2012

One Last Thing …
A 16-year-old with terminal cancer just wants to have sex before dying in this sweet, if overly earnest feature.

Kimberley Jones, May 5, 2006

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
SXSW Film Review: <i>Sister Aimee</i>
Film Review: Sister Aimee
The true-ish story of the original celebrity hoax

March 15, 2019

Birds of Passage
Colombian drama redefines the drug trafficking movie

March 15, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

High School, John Stalberg, Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Adhir Kalyan, Mykelti Williamson, Yeardley Smith

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