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Movie Review

How High is Cheech & Chong transported into the 21st century. When two pot-smoking slackers show up to take college entrance exams, they get acquainted by smoking marijuana in the parking lot. Unbeknownst to them, the pot they’re sharing (grown using the ashes of Silas’ best friend, Ivory, who was killed while stoned) brings Ivory back from the grave and oxymoronically helps the duo achieve perfect scores on their exams. Recruiters are now very interested in this pair, making it possible for them to attend the college of their choice. When Harvard beckons with hopes of boosting its ethnic quotas, Jamal and Silas say yes. Upon arrival as freshmen, they proceed to "enlighten" stuffy Harvard by turning students (especially Tuan and Jeffery), faculty and eventually the Vice President of the United States ("I inhaled!") on to drugs, sex and the party life. Meanwhile, Silas hooks up with Lauren (her boyfriend is team captain of the rowing team), and Jamal gets together with the wayward daughter of the Vice President.

As long as their "special" stash holds out, they’re sure to ace college and everyone will live happily ever after. But you know that’s not going to happen. When a fellow student steals the "Ivory" plant, these two pot-heads have to make it on their own. Will they clean up their act and do the right thing? Not a chance.

positive elements: None.

spiritual content: There is an overriding assumption that the pot-smoking Ivory is a spirit who has returned from some heavenly party. At one point—with liquor glass in hand—he talks of "Biggy and Pac [two deceased gangsta rappers] throwing a party." A priest attempts to woo Silas and Jamal into the priesthood by telling them they’ll have to take a vow of celibacy. Huh?! Of course, they’re exceedingly uninterested. A pimp credits God for supplying a woman ("If it hadn’t been for the Lord I wouldn’t have had another b--ch in my life"). Jamal and Silas dress as nuns for a party.

sexual content: Much. Much. Much. The film opens with a sex-partner of Silas on his bed (the scene includes brief breast nudity). Talk of—and scenes depicting—sex are central from that point on. Jamal fantasizes about having sex with one of his professors (vulgar dialogue and lots of cleavage in this scene). Tuan masturbates to a movie scene. Jamal and Silas seduce two girls who claim to be virgins and the two couples have sex in the same room. Later, the "virgins" are slapped by a pimp (both are shown "enjoying" the pain as a sexual turn on). Prostitutes perform sex acts on Tuan and Jeffery. Silas grabs Lauren’s (clothed) breast. She enjoys it. Tuan talks of enjoying watching his dog mate (he doesn’t put it nearly so politely). Jamal tells the Vice President (who is stoned at the time), "I’m banging your daughter on the regular." The VP expresses his approval.

violent content: While stoned, Ivory falls asleep and drops his joint, igniting his hair. Fully engulfed in flames, he jumps out of a window and falls several stories onto the street below (neither the fire nor the fall kills him; a later scene shows him getting hit by a bus). When a Harvard student explains what the letters N.W.A. stand for, he’s punched for using the ethnic slur associated. Using bird seed as bait, Jamal and Silas plot a prank that involves blowing up pigeons. When their "Ivory" plant is stolen, the duo tries to find another deceased intellectual to smoke (or drink). The result? They exhume President John Quincy Adams, and not only do they try to smoke one of his fingers, but his hand (with entirely too much tissue for a man dead for two centuries) is shown being prepared in a blender. Tuan shoves a pimp through a windshield. Another man tries to kill someone with an axe (he misses). A campus party turns into a big brawl that draws the police; lots of punches are thrown.

crude or profane language: At least 100 f-words used in all of its obscene variations. Better than half that many s-words are accompanied by fistfuls of vulgar and obscene references to sexual acts and genitalia.

drug and alcohol content: How High is non-stop pro-pot propaganda. Numerous scenes depict someone toking a joint, blunt or bong. Although it defies the facts, in this film pot smoking makes one smarter. Of course, life is depicted as more enjoyable when stoned. Even when the duo must buckle down and really study (after their "Ivory" plant is stolen), they do so while high. Harvard’s Dean Cain is tricked into eating marijuana-laced brownies (he becomes a foul-mouth slug himself, no different than Jamal and Silas). Silas brings beer into a lab where Lauren is studying. Even "good girl" Lauren eventually gets high (she admits, "I did it once in high school"). The accompanying music glamorizes pot as well.

other negative elements: Gross-out scenes abound. When a student authority figure snoops under a bed, he discovers a used condom, the contents of which he spills on his hand. Tuan vomits a long (and graphically depicted) stream of food. Jamal lies to his mother, telling her his bong is really a lamp. Students use foul language in front of authority figures who for the most part overlook it as perfectly acceptable speech. Gangsta rappers Cypress Hill perform at a campus party. At the film’s conclusion, Lauren’s big American history discovery is that Ben Franklin invented the first bong. Franklin subsequently appears alongside the spirit of Ivory and declares: "Light that s---, smoke that s---, pass that s---!"

conclusion: The film opens with Cypress Hill’s "Hits from the Bong" and closes with the printed line: There were no plants harmed in the making of this film. What is sandwiched in between are dozens of pot-smoking scenes, sexual content galore, language that would make the proverbial sailor’s ears bleed, and a destructive stereotypical depiction of African-American males as lazy, dope-smoking sex addicts. So you tell me. Should you let your family get High?

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gangsta rappers Redman as Jamal and Method Man as Silas; also Obba Babatunde as Dean Cain; Chuck Davis as Ivory; Essence Atkins as Jamie; Justin Urich as Jeffery; Trieu Tran as Tuan; Lark Voorhies as Lauren


Jesse Dylan ( )


Universal Pictures



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