Dir. John Stalberg (2010, USA, 93 mins.)
In addition to horror, sci-fi, action, and cult movies, this year, Toronto After Dark brought us a stoner comedy: High School. To be fair, High School certainly has its funny moments. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind an avalanche of hijinks and gags about weed and high school that are bound together by a fairly straightforward plot, then by all means, this is a film for you. Unfortunately, hijinks, gags, and an awesome performance by Adrian Brody are all this film has going for it.
Tired plot and stock characters aside, there are some genuinely funny parts in this film. Bush and Marquette have excellent comic presence, and Adrian Brody should play a deranged drug dealer more often. There are other good bits too; the film begins with three-time spelling bee champ Phuc – yes, say that name out loud too – getting stoned and going off on a foul tangent before judges and parents. Unfortunately, there are some lame comic moments as well: old people saying rude words can only be funny so many times, and frankly, we have YouTube for that.
Some reviewers are predicting that this will become a new cult hit. I think that is fairly optimistic. More likely: a modest opening weekend followed by awesome DVD sales. And honestly, we all have someone in our lives who could use a new stoner comedy.
– Dave Robson