The “high” in High School refers to not just the grade level of its students but their state of mind. One can fairly hear the brainstorming session now: “Dude! What if, like, the whole school got high? Huh huh huh.” Unfortunately, the plot is developed little past this hook, and we’re left with poorly reasoned scenes and storylines that dangle like a pothead’s unfinished sentences.
Henry Burke (Matt Bush) and Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) were best pals as kids, but then high school happened, and, in a poignant observation about adolescence, they’ve grown apart. With an acceptance letter to MIT and scholarship applications in the mail, Henry is poised to be valedictorian, much to the chagrin of his academic rival Sebastian Saleem (Adhir Kalyan). Meanwhile, Breaux (as in “bro”—get it?) is the school’s resident stoner with grand plans to travel, learn to play the sitar and settle down in Nicaragua. After literally bumping into each other in the school parking lot, they hang out for old times’ sake, and Breaux tries to help Henry loosen up by giving him his very first toke of ganja.
Unfortunately, Henry’s indiscretion coincides with a new mandatory drug-testing policy instituted by Principal Leslie Gordon (a remarkably unrecognizable Michael Chiklis), and Henry learns the hard way that “one hit really could ruin your life.” Breaux isn’t ready to surrender just yet, though: “At times like this, you need to think like a stoner.” Principal Gordon can’t very well expel the entire student body if everyone tests positive, so the pair sets out to get the high school, well, high.
Luckily, there’s a bake sale the very same day, so all they have to do is steal a jar of pure THC crystals from Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody), mix them into a batch of brownies and swap out the donated treats for theirs. That all of the schoolkids’ mothers decided to make brownies is just the smallest unlikelihood in a script rife with bad ideas and illogic. When Sebastian catches whiff of what Henry and Breaux are up to, they spend the rest of the day trying to intercept the video that caught them in the act (including a completely nonsensical plan to seduce the principal’s ex-wife in order to swipe her keys), dodging Psycho Ed and, in Henry’s case, taking finals while the rest of the students and faculty get high on their brownies.
If this sounds kinetically paced, it’s not, returning too often to Henry lashing out at his druggie friend who’s going out of his way to help him and repeating a joke in which one character says to another, “What?” Then, High School loses all semblance of coherence in the film’s climax, proving that potheads (in general) and this script have at least one thing in common—they are not nearly as funny or as smart as they think they are.
Director: John Stalberg Jr.
Writers: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg Jr. & Stephen Susco
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sean Marquette, Matt Bush, Colin Hanks, Adhir Kalyan, Mykelti Williamson, Michael Chiklis
Release Date: June 1, 2012