Starring Matt Bush, Adrien Brody, Sean Marquette, Colin Hanks and Michael Chiklis. Written by Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg, Jr. and Stephen Susco. Directed by John Stalberg, Jr.
The increasing number of drug comedy movies in the past decade or so could constitute giving these films their own genre. We've seen films like Charlie Bartlett and Pineapple Express, all of which I couldn't help comparing to High School while I was watching. What all of these films have in common is that they're incredibly entertaining and manage to develop some really dynamic, memorable characters and authentic relationships. However, if you're looking for substance or an accurate representation of adolescent life, you'll find that High School isn't remotely satisfying.
The film's main character, Henry Burke (Bush), is a strait-laced soon-to-be valedictorian, who runs into some trouble after he smokes weed for the first time while reconnecting with his ex-best friend and school druggie Breaux (Marquette). It just so happens that the very next day, the school principal (Chiklis) orders the entire school be drug tested in order to enforce his strict anti-drug policy, which expels students who test positive. To avoid Henry losing his scholarship to MIT, Henry and Breaux concoct an outrageous scheme involving stealing from a law student turned drug dealer, Psycho Ed (Brody), and somehow getting the entire student body high. As you might guess, the wackiest possible events occur and the story turns into an engaging battle between Henry and the faculty, and against the system in general. And while some of the events are outlandish and could never happen in high school, it is pleasant to see the characters change in a realistic way throughout the film, specifically Henry, due largely to Bush's understated but strong performance.
The script is at times self-conscious, but humorous nonetheless. The real issue I have with High School is that some of the logic throughout the story is too far-fetched and nonsensical, coming off as a cheap tactic strictly for laughs. However, Brody and Hanks step out of their comfort zones and shine in colorful roles as side characters, making this movie worth watching once at the very least.