How High?

As members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man and Redman have the respect of audiences and critics alike, churning out compelling, loud, and catchy music. As actors in How High?, they fail to do much of anything. How High? is a one joke movie, and that joke is pot. It is hardly even intermittently funny, mostly because of a highly pedestrian script by Dustin Lee Abraham (The Runner). The fish-out-of-water scenario gets a new treatment as two hip inner city potheads go to prissy Harvard (which, gee, looks suspiciously like UCLA. The only reason Silas (Method Man, Backstage, Black and White) and Jamal (Redman, Backstage, Boricua's Bond) made it into Harvard was that they smoked some killer weed. More specifically, weed grown partially with the ashes of Silas' friend. Now, his friend returns as a ghost and gives them all the right answers on tests.

Once in Harvard, everything about them clashes with Harvard's stuffy attitude. Dean Cain (Obba Babatunde, The Visit, Life) is a black administrator that hates how they represent a step backward in race relations for him. Bart (Chris Elwood, Five Wishes) hates how Silas sets his sights on his girlfriend Lauren (Lark Voorhies, Mutiny, Fire & Ice). Meanwhile, Jamal goes after Jamie (Essence Atkins, Nikita Blues, Love Song), the daughter of the Vice President of the United States. Director Jesse Dylan draws every single character with a broad stroke, which is one reason How High? is so uninteresting. People are either ultraconservative and snooty (Cain, Bart) or extremely relaxed and laid-back (Silas and Jamal). Lauren is the perfect girlfriend; beautiful, caring, smart, and it makes on wonder why she and Bart are dating in the first place. There are also a number of annoying secondary characters modeled after stereotypes (like everything else in this movie) including hookers, pimps, coeds, Asians, and any other type of person who goes to college.

Just so there is a plot, somebody steals the plant with Silas' special weed. Now, Silas and Jamal have no way of passing exams, since they cannot focus on studying. Any mistake by the two will cause Dean Cain (but sadly not Superman) to expel them. Moreover, part of Silas wants to stay in college, so he can get a real lab to develop various types of weed. See, Silas really is a bright guy. So if he applies himself, he can do whatever he wants. However, this is not the moral that Dylan wants to teach. The bulk of the movie has Silas and Jamal partying, smoking out, or concocting and realizing bizarre pranks designed solely to annoy Cain and Bart. As actors, Method Man and Redman do not have enough material to work with, so there's no way of knowing if they can actually act. It seems to be a trend in the music world. It's cheap to get a musician (Mariah Carey, Lance Bass, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Emimen, Britney Spears) to churn out a bad movie, since supposedly there is a built in fan base who will go out and see the movie. Well, it's never quite happened yet, and How High? just prolongs the agony. Where's Jon Bon Jovi when you need him?

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Rated R for pervasive drug use and language, and for sexual dialogue.

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