Review: High School (Fantasia)

High School (Fantasia)
8 10

PLOT: When their high school principal (Michael Chiklis) hatches a plan to have the whole high school tested for drugs, two stoners (Matt Bush & Sean Marquette) concoct a plan of their own. They steal some high-powered marijuana from a crazed dealer- Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody), a nd use it to spike the school bake sale brownies, getting the whole school, students and faculty alike, baked out of their minds!

REVIEW: HIGH SCHOOL (emphasis on the word HIGH), is not just a stoner comedy, it`s a stoner EPIC!. First time director John Stalberg takes what could have just been another weed comedy, and injected it with so much style, that it`s probably the sleekest, most cinematic high school comedy since RISKY BUSINESS, or THREE O'CLOCK HIGH (bonus points for whoever saw that Phil Joanou classic).

Everything about HIGH SCHOOL is a cut above the average teen comedy. Stalberg`s use of wide-screen shows a real knack for visuals that many comedy directors are laking these days, with shots framed creatively, but at the same time, refreshingly free of the MTV gimmicks you'd seen in a lot of films like this. I also loved the incredible soundtrack, which is a collaboration between iconic eighties action composer Harald Faltermeyer (BEVERLY HILLS COP, TOP GUN, etc.) and electronic duo Freescha. When I saw Faltermeyer`s name on the credits, I assumed this would be some kind of synthy- eighties throwback score, but this is nothing of the kind. It`s a fresh, driving score that really gives the film a sense of energy that moves the action along.

As for the cast, well, suffice to say it`s way above average for this type of film. Michael Chiklis is hilarious, and unrecognizable (sporting a wig and a moustache) in a role that`s almost as big a stretch for him as it was from playing THE COMMISH to playing Vic Mackey on THE SHIELD. As for Adrien Brody, while some might sneer at an Oscar winner starring in a stoner comedy, Brody`s hilarious as the heavily tattooed, corn-rowed Psycho Ed. If the film picks up the cult following it deserves, this character might go down as a stoner classic.

As our high school stoner heroes, Matt Bush (Ball Taps from ADVENTURELAND), and Sean Marquette both make likable stoner heroes, with Bush being the more-straight laced of the two. I also got a big kick out of Yeardley Smith (Lisa from THE SIMPSONS), and Curtis Armstrong (BOOGER!!!) as two of the blazed teachers, and Smith`s monologue about Bryan Adams` cock is a classic.

If the crazed reception this received at the Sundance screening I attended is any indicator, HIGH SCHOOL is destined to take its place among classics like HALF-BAKED and UP IN SMOKE. It`s a kick-ass stoner comedy, and one I had a blast watching.

RATING: 8/10



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