How High
Starring:
Method Man, Redman
Directed By:
Jesse Dylan
Grade C

Like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds and Van Wilder, How High follows in a long line of comedies based on the drunken and drug-induced party aspect of college life. Or at least a highly fantasized version of this college life.

As the movie begins, we see that Silas (Method Man) has a knack for growing various types of marijuana and has made himself a living selling it. After his friend dies, he takes the ashes and uses it to make what turns out to be some fairly potent "pot". So potent, in fact, it allows him to see the ghost of his dead friend. When Silas and Jamal (Redman) smoke it before a major test (kind of like the SAT), they ace it with the help of the dead friend. With such a good score, they get into Harvard, where they of course make it much cooler place by just being there.

How High manages to start with fairly decent introduction that shows the reasons on how the main characters end up where they are. In fact, the beginning of the movie is told with a bit more depth of character than most films in the genre. But, once they get on campus, things fall into a more complacent and clichéd pattern that anyone whose seen this genre could label each scene on how it will play out before it does.

The whole "ignorant, bigoted white guy versus the main characters" scenario gets played out way too often and with a fairly heavy hand. In fact, it's done so much once Redman and Method Man reach campus it becomes a cliché all its own before the movie really gets under way. Unfortunately, a lot of the cast is based solely on annoying stereotypes.

The soundtrack is packed with a number of good tracks, including pieces from House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Saliva, Wu Tang Clan, Bob Marley and (of course) tracks from Method Man and Redman. Outside of the more popular tracks, the movie's soundtrack is decently done.

How High is fortunate to be filmed with a fine level of quality and some excellent production values. Unlike a lot of failures in this genre, the movie benefits from some excellent production and cinematography. Even though I doubt much of it is actually acting, Method Man and Redman deliver good performances in their roles. The movie also has a huge cast of bit and once-famous actors to fill out the ranks.

The bulk of How High's humor is hinged totally on your ability to find both drug-related jokes and ethnic stereotypes funny. In this matter, How High manages to deliver decently. If you don't find that type of humor funny, you'll want to skip this one. But, if you enjoy films like the Friday series or Cheech and Chong, you'll probably get a kick out of this one.

- - Kinderfeld

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