This is one of those moments that you don't expect much, but hope for the best. In 2007 I went to see "Superbad" and was pleasantly surprised! Twp years later, "The Hangover" was my pleasant surprise. In 2011, I was very surprised with "Tucker and Dale vs Evil".


But before you get excited, let me categorically say that "High School" is not in the same class as the aforementioned comedies. In fact, it has been on the shelf for the last two years as Anchor Bay Films tried to figure out what to do with it.


No, this isn't a case like the horrible recent Eddie Murphy film "A Thousand Words" that Dreamworks knew was crap and shelved - this is more or less trying to find a spot. For some reason, the studio decided this was a good time to release it - up against "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Piranha 3DD".

The story borrows from films like "Risky Business" with a teenager committing corruption en masse. This time instead of a sex orgy, writer-director John Stalberg went the stoner route.


We get a perfect cheat early laugh when an Asian spelling bee champion with a last name of Phuc (homage given to Phuket, Thailand) blows the final round while after admitting she was stoned. Her name becomes an occasional running gag.


The fictitious Morgan High School's valedictorian - Matt Bush (Henry Burke) - has just toked his first marijuana joint after being goaded by his best friend Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) a well known stoner. At the time it seemd okay since the school year was winding down and he was headed to MIT.


But after the spelling bee incident, the school principle Dr. Gordon (Michael Chiklis) begins a zero tolerance drug program that will begin with an immediate drug test of the entire school. If anyone fails, they will be expelled immediately. Henry can see his future going up in smoke. But his stoned friend Travis comes up with the idea top get the entire school stoned so that everyone would fail the drug test.

After scoring a batch of home made dope from the town's number one dopehead - a guy named Psycho Ed (Adrian Brody) they make some drugged brownies just in time for the school bake sale and drug test.


Naturally things go right, then quickly go wrong with everyone after them including the Salutatorian (Adhir Kalyan) who wants revenge for coming in second in the class GPA race.


Colin Hanks play the assistant principle Brandon Ellis who biggest job is making school announcements over the PA system. He, along with several members of the school board eat some of the brownies, that never seem to run short, and they too are stoned.


Stalberg does successfully grab some cheap unexpected laughs but may be missing the market with the usual stoner-movie crowd that prefers more boob shots (only one in this case) and references to sex. But he does manage to send a subtle message against drugs and making the wrong decision.


"High School" won't kill anyone's career and does manage to eke out a few laughs. But it won't be confused with the more consistently funny comedies like "Super Bad" or "Hangover".   -- GEOFF BURTON