Writing a review of a stoner movie is an exercise in futility. I mean, quality isn't really an issue if you see "How High" in the, ummm, blunt condition the filmmakers have in mind, now is it?
There are laughs to be had in this screwball comedy about two ghetto ganja hounds (hip-hop artists Method Man and Redman) who accidentally ace their belated college entry exams and get into Harvard. How did they do it? After smoking some wicked weed grown in soil mixed with the ashes of a dead buddy, they're visited by the guy's ghost who gives them all the test answers. How he knows the stuff is, of course, never explained.
So these two dudes toke their way through freshman year, pulling "Animal House" pranks on the snooty Oreo dean (Obba Babatunde), copping booty from frat boys' babes and sorority virgins in argyle sweaters, and getting hookers for their geek dorm-mates, the Chinese wannabe gansta ("You East Coast, I Far East Coast!") and the pathetic whitebread frat pledge.
But with hacked-up scenes slapped together in no particular order, "How High" is barely coherent and nearly plotless aside from Method Man bagging a beautiful archeology student (Lark Voorhies from "Saved by the Bell") and Redman getting a piece from the slutty Harvard daughter (Essense Atkins) of the United States Vice President (Jeffrey Jones).
The movie's stars -- both moonlighting from their music careers -- are talented enough to keep the chuckles coming at a modest rate while famous character actors pop in from time to time, pumping up the humor for a scene or two. Ironically WASPy monologist Spaulding Gray has a hilarious cameo as a Black Studies professor trying to get down with his students. Hector Elizondo plays Harvard's crew coach who hates the blue-blooded brats who row his sculls and encourages Redman to make fools of them.
But aside from Method Man, Redman, and the folks mentioned in the last paragraph, most of the acting is atrocious. The longer the picture goes on, the more any semblance of plot, editing or direction unravels. Eighty percent of the jokes tank too.
If director Jesse Dylan (an escapee from music videos) could have hung on to the consistency of comedy in that other 20 percent, "How High" might have been funny enough that its pointlessness and utter disregard for congruous storytelling wouldn't have mattered -- even for those of us that don't blaze up before going to the movies.
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Friday 21st December 2001
Box Office USA: $31.2M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 41
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Jesse Dylan
Starring: Method Man as Silas P. Silas, Redman as Jamal King, Obba Babatunde as Dean Carl Cain, Mike Epps as Baby Powder, Anna Maria Horsford as Mamma King, Fred Willard as Philip Huntley, Jeffrey Jones as Vice President, Héctor Elizondo as Bill the Crew Coach, Cypress Hill as Musikband, Essence Atkins as Jamie
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