Making the Grades
"I like to think of it as finding a new breed of sacred cow to barbecue. In fact, I think we might actually be grilling the whole sacred barnyard." -- Robert LoCash, co-writer and producer of High School High, speaking about the movie's attitude toward education.
Hollywood's ongoing attempts to find comedy in the darkest of corners inevitably leads to making fun of things that just aren't funny. Recently in Striptease, audiences were asked to believe that a single mother who must resort to stripping in order to keep her daughter is a hilarious idea. Or in the case of Matilda, that a heavily neglected child must resort to comedic magic to rid the world of her abusive parents and teachers. Now, in High School High, drugs, sex, and total disregard for the role of public education are "on the barbecue" for us to laugh at.
High School High is a frame for continuous sight gags (pop machines dispense booze) and overused jokes (the principal is a tyrant), most involving sexual and drug references. The movie's story of a teacher trying to improve life in an inner-city school may seem worthwhile on the surface, but the priority is to provide laughs, not inspiration. Unless your children have a rare and keen sense of being able to see the difference between cynicism and reality, keep them away from this movie. The farcical script may make those who are already discouraged with school feel like change is hopeless or futile.
With it's teen-friendly title and PG-13 rating, High School High is likely to be an adolescent video magnet. Adults that enjoyed producer David Zucker's other comedies (most noted are the Naked Gun series), may find humor in this spoof. For the rest of us, High School High is a movie that too often tries to wring laughs from serious situations, leaving audiences of all ages confused as to what the film's real intent is. For family viewing, High School High gets a failing grade and is definitely at the back of the class.