With “High School,” director/co-writer John Stalberg Jr. attempts to make the ultimate teen stoner comedy, but the movie winds up a disappointing buzz kill.
A potential valedictorian (Matt Bush) tries marijuana for the first time only to discover his maniacal principal (Michael Chiklis) is imposing mandatory drug testing on everyone at the school. This launches an ill-conceived idea from the red-eyed pal (Sean Marquette) who got him high in the first place to get the entire student body baked on pot brownies to throw off the results, a bit of stoned logic that also requires ripping off the local weirdo dealer (Adrien Brody).
There’s been plenty of weed in high school movies — even “The Breakfast Club” used it to accelerate the bonding among its young Americans. But “High School” lacks the oddball inventiveness of the “Harold and Kumar” films or other genuine pot comedies. Stalberg Jr. seems more interested in using the weed-world’s codes and behaviors as simply a vehicle for an outsized comedy rather than any sort of actual subcultural exploration.
Lacking real kick, “High School” winds up as irksome as a bag of ditch weed and as lame as the pun of the film’s title.
MPAA rating: R for pervasive drugs and language, crude and sexual content, some nudity – all involving teens
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: In general release