It seems a terrible waste that John Stalberg’s High School isn’t funny given how much the film’s two name-recognition actors put into it. Adrien Brody, yes, Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, plays fried genius drug dealer Psycho Ed less like a human being and more like a rabid animal. Meanwhile, an unrecognizable Michael Chiklis deadpans his way through ridiculous lines in the role of the authoritarian high school principal, Dr. Leslie Gordon. The scenery that the duo manages to chew through in their respective scenes would almost make for a good comedy, if only the writing was up to par and the timing on everyone else’s part worked.
The rest of the film is, pardon the pun, half-baked. All of the typical stoner comedy notes are hit with nothing like character or personality to fill in the silence. There’s Henry the nerd (Matt Bush) and Travis the stoner (Sean Marquette), two unlikely friends who team up to get the entire school high after Dr. Gordon announces a mandatory drug test on the day of finals. There’s a villainous wannabe valedictorian who conspires to reveal their plan; there’s Curtis Armstrong making a cameo, there’s even a dream girl that shows up for about two minutes. High School is less a stoner comedy and more a bullet-point version of a stoner comedy, and only when Brody or Chiklis are on screen does the film seem to have a beating heart – except for an unnecessary and unfortunate visual gag near the end of the film involving the hi-larious act of sexual assault.