A scene from 'How High'
Courtesy Photo
2 stars 96 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Wedensday, December 26, 2001
Directed by Jesse Dylan

Starring Method Man, Redman, Obba Babatunde, Lark Voorhies, Chuck Davis, Mike Epps, Fred Willard, Anna Maria Horsford, Spalding Gray, Jeffrey Jones, Hector Elizondo, Al "Hits" Shearer, Essence Atkins, T.J. Thyne, Justin Urich, Trieu Tran, Tracey Walter


Well, at home it's a little easier to get stoned while watching, so maybe it will be funnier.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 05.21.2002


 LINKS for this film
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Hip-hopper-cum-actors smoke their way through Harvard in funny but incoherent 'How High'

By Rob Blackwelder

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.


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