So how long has the stoner comedy “High School” been sitting around? Let’s just put it this way: we saw this movie two years ago at the Fantasia Film Festival (review here), and at the time it was still seeking distribution. Well, it finally got picked up by Anchor Bay sometime between then and now, and it’s headed to theaters, and we’ll be curious to see if it’s been edited or changed in that time.
The basic premise of the story follows Henry (Matt Bush) who is on the path to becoming a valedictorian and starting the college life at MIT. He’s never done drugs, and abhors the lifestyle, but is called out by his former best bud Travis (Sean Marquette) for being a hypocrite because he’s never actually smoked pot. So, to sate that curiosity, the two light one up the night before their big high school finals…but there’s one problem. Their zero tolerance principal (a funny, totally against type Michael Chiklis) has ordered up drug tests for all the students the next day. Their plan? Instead of ditching, they’re going to try and get the entire school high!
So yeah, it’s an outlandishly zany concept, but at least in the version we saw, it’s not as much fun as you might think. And that’s mostly because the film’s best character — who makes the movie come to life every time he steps into frame — is Adrien Brody as Psycho Ed. All cornrows, tattoos and bugged-out eyes, he’s fucking hilarious, but he’s really a side player, someone the boys go to to snag some potent pot crystals as part of their larger scheme. Ed’s two cohorts — played by Mykelti Williamson and Andrew Wilson — are essentially axed from the film (writer Michael Susco told the Fantasia audience that the latter had five monologues that were all cut for time). The rough cut ran three hours long though, so hopefully those scenes will see the light of day on DVD.
All this said, “High School” is an amiable diversion that doesn’t quite deliver, but it’s worth watching for Brody. The film arrives on June 1st. Watch the trailer below.