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Sundance 2010: 'HIGH School' got high marks, and just plain high

January 25, 2010 | 11:38 am

In another audience triumph for Sundance's Park City at Midnight series, the stoner comedy "HIGH School" had the crowd laughing, relating to and repeating the oft-heard question "Whut!?" a few too many times in the parking lot of the Library Center afterward.

Most midnight crowds come already prepared to cheer on their movie, and when that movie is about marijuana and high school, it's just a matter of time before someone one yells out ("Yeah! Ganja!") or something familiar comes on screen.

In the film, Henry (Matt Bush) is on the verge of graduating and getting a scholarship to MIT when he decides to experiment with marijuana with his friend Travis (Sean Marquette). The same day, the principal (a wig-wearing Michael Chiklis) decides to institute a school-wide drug test the next day. What to do?  Of course, why not get the entire school high from pot brownies at the bake sale, which would most likely invalidate any tests. Throw in some already-gone stoner friends, a competitive schoolmate (Adhir Kalyan), a funny vice principal (Colin Hanks) and teachers, and Adrien Brody as a legal-case quoting drug dealer/grower.

Most, if not all, of the main cast members were present at the Q&A afterward. The moderator-less session was a bit awkward when it started, but soon got underway. Questions ranged from Adrien Brody's choosing of the role and his detailed tattoos to the skateboard stuntmen on the set. But before the screening, I asked the actors about who they may draw from to play these roles, and other questions as the stars and director ran through a red carpet that boasted single-digit temperatures.  Michael Chiklis: "Really? Did they notice I'm a bald guy?"

-- Jevon Phillips

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