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Silas P. Silas (Method Man) is more then just your average drug dealer, although he does sell drugs. He has his own lab where he concocts remedies for all ailments as well as growing a little bud for entrepreneurial reasons. When his best friend and customer Ivory (Chuck Davis) dies unexpectedly, Silas vows to keep the promise he made and enrol himself in college to try and have a better life. There's only one obstacle, and that is he has to pass the THC exam. Jamal King (Redman) is another stoner whose mother pressures him into taking the test, so that she can put his college diploma on the wall next to her sons barber certification and her daughter's hair weaving degree. The two stoners meet up just outside the exam when they both hotbox their cars in hopes that getting high will help them pass. It's at this special occasion that Silas's light's up some weed that he made using the ashes of his dead friend and through the magic of the high Ivory appears and helps them through the test. They both score high marks and the newfound friends now have the pick of any college they want. Together they settle on Harvard after the chancellor (Fred Williard) assures them that the girls there are top notch. Harvard presents an all new series of problems for the boys as their party lifestyle doesn't fit in with the prestigious school. The school's Dean (Obba Babatunde) just happens to be a black man who managed to bury his urban roots and is afraid of what these students represent to his past. This causes him to do everything in his power to make sure that their tenure at Harvard is short lived. After only a short time the boys manage to find themselves with female companions. For Silas this is archaeology student Lauren (Lark Voorhies) who is working on a research project that will bring a lot of donor money to the University while Jamal hooks up with Jamie (Essence Atkins) the black daughter of the vice president of the United States who likes things a little on the wild side. Meanwhile the boys forget to study and their grades begin to drop rapidly and this causes them to fall under the required 2.0 scholarship average. What's worse is that it's final exam time and their precious Ivory brand smart weed has gone missing. Can the stoners get themselves out of this predicament or will Dean Cain get his wish and have them booted out of college.

How High
"How High" has been marketed as a pot smoking comedy along the lines of "Half Baked", which has become the title that movies in this genre are now measured up to. The problem is that "How High" isn't really all that funny. In fact I'd hazard to guess that you might need to actually be high to get anything more out of it. Since I'm not a pot smoker I wasn't really expecting too much of the film but even then the smallest of my expectations were nowhere near being met with this film. It starts off pretty well, but by about the 45-minute marker I was ready for the movie to end. The plot, if you can call it that, is non-existent, and that leaves the film without a firm platform to work off of. There are really only two types of jokes or scenes in the film, and they both are overdone early on. The movie is just one long weed joke after another and even then these jokes always seem to fall flat. If it's not a marijuana joke then it's a scene involving women and though these are amongst the film's stronger moments some of them are still rather demeaning to members of the fairer sex.  The pain doesn't stop there though as director Jesse Dylan surrounds the two protagonists with the most stereotypical and moronic group of supporting characters known to man, which include the spoiled stuck-up rich kid, who’s in college because of his parents, the quirky exchange student/child protégé, the dumb and obsessive hall monitor type and many more.

If "How High" had any chance to overcome the numerous problems with the plot then it was in the performances but even they come up short. Method Man and Redman may have collaborated on some excellent musical projects including "Rappers Delight" from the "Wedding Singer" soundtrack, but their lack of acting ability can't help them fumble their way through a feature length motion picture. To give some credit to the rappers, they on occasion had solid comedic timing, but since the laugh count is quite low this wasn't enough to sustain my interest in their characters for the entire 95 minutes. The supporting players performances were not that much better either, and in some instances had me wondering what exactly attracted them to the project. Certainly stars like Fred Williard and Spalding Grey are not so hard up for work that they'd accept just about anything presented to them. In Williard's case it hasn't been that long since his excellent work in "Best of Show". Striking another name off of the “Where are they now?” list, "Saved by Bell's" Lark Voorhies appears in the film as the smart girl Lauren.  The film's best performance comes from Mike Epps (All About the Benjamins), who plays the film's pimp. Although the reason for his character's appearance in the film doesn't make a lot of sense and seems to come from left field Epps does give a strong comedic performance that made me want to see more of this side character then that of Jamal and Silas.  

The biggest problem with the film is the inexperience of all the primary talent involved from the writer on down. The film is written by Dustin Abrahams whose only other writing credit is the 1999 B-movie "The Runner". The film suffers from just about every cliché and stereotype in the book. There wasn't one minute in the film that I felt like I didn't already know what was going to happen. He also makes it tough to care about the stoners, as the characters of Jamal and Silas are just so boring and unoriginal that they come across as being a combination of every other stoner character that came before them. The poor writing makes first time director Jesse Dylan's work even harder as he has to try and craft something enjoyable and funny out of material that is anything but. He manages to achieve this in a few places but they are spread so far apart that the gaps between jokes are very noticeable. The pacing suffers because of this and by the end of the film the opening, which showed moderate promise, is completely forgotten. There just isn't enough going for the film and as it stands I can't give this film a recommendation. It's not the worst comedy I've seen but it's far from the best.

Video
Universal presents "How High" with an anamorphic widescreen transfer framed at the film's theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 Although not the most visually exciting motion picture on the planet, Universal has done an excellent job making sure things look nice on this disc. The transfer is fairly sharp without the slightest hint of softness. Detail is spot on allowing the viewer to see past the main action of the scene to make out minor details in the background. Colours are bright and vibrant and don't suffer from any bleed or over saturation. In terms of problems, there aren't really that many to report, as the film print used is excellent shape with hardly any marks or scratches to be seen.  There is some minor pixelation, and edge enhancement rears it's ugly head from time to time, but overall these are really minor concerns. My biggest problem with the transfer was that it was a bit on the dark side for my liking. I would have preferred it if the brightness where a bit higher but that could just be me. All in all this is another fine effort from Universal.

How High
Audio
Universal has chosen to include 5.1 audio mixes in both Dolby Digital and DTS flavours on this disc. "How High" is a comedy, and as such I wasn't really expecting much out of the audio experience on this DVD. However the film does manage to stay away from the comedy audio syndrome that plagues so many comedy sound mixes. This certainly won't become your next reference title, but there is an adequate amount of sound effects and ambient sounds placed in the rear speakers to keep this from becoming a front heavy affair. Being a movie starring two rapper superstars, the music is the real focus of the mix, and it comes across quite nicely through the front channels. I was however a bit disappointed with the amount of bass used in the music. I'm not a rap/urban music fan but I love a good thumping musical score like the rest of them, and on occasion have been known to listen to some Dr Dre or Eminem on my home theatre. Other aspects of the sound presentation are fine as dialogue is easily heard and understood. Well I'm not sure about understood since I don't use Ebonics or street slang in my daily life. It's not going to rock your socks off but Universal has done a good job with the audio mixes on this DVD.

Extras
Universal is hoping that "How High" will pick up new fans on DVD, so they have included a blazing hot amount of bonus materials that are meant to give you the munchies and get you to lay down your hard earned cash for this disc.

Starting things off we have the audio commentary with Method Man and Redman, who sit down to talk about their feature film debut. "How High" is another example of a movie I didn't want to sit through a second time just to listen to the commentary track, so I turned it on and attempted to make it through the complete track. I managed to make it through the majority of the track before I just couldn't stand it anymore and had to turn it off. Method Man and Redman sound as if they are both a little bit high as they offer meaningless and rather boring accounts of their experiences on the film. There is no serious discussion about anything, and the track really just goes off in a bunch of different directions at once. Sometimes they appear to have something interesting to stay but then they get off track. If this wasn't bad enough they manage to repeat the same stories time and time again and basically thank everyone on the film numerous times. When they get tired of that they start to recite their own dialogue from the film over top of the film's soundtrack. The track seems to be some sort of in-joke between the participants and I really didn't care for it at all. Fans of the rappers and the film may find the track hilarious but if your like me and didn't care for the movie you probably won't find anything of value here.

The deleted scenes section of the disc contains just over 20 minutes of material that was removed from the film. As there is no audio commentary available for these scenes there is no way for sure way to tell why they were removed. If I were a betting man I'd have to say it was probably for timing/pacing reasons. The thing that differentiates this footage from the material in the final film is that I laughed an equal number or more during this cut material. It's not all comic gold but these scenes do contain a number of laugh worthy moments which isn't something I can't say about the film itself. One of my biggest pet peeves with this section of the disc is that Universal has chosen to include the scenes as one menu choice and therefore they are not individually selectable. This means in order to demonstrate or show a clip to a friend I would have to memorize the time code and jump to it that way. What's even odder is that the scenes are broken up amongst three chapters. A play-all option as well as individual menu options would have been nice.

Up next we have a collection of out takes from the film, which run for just under three minutes. Some of the material is moderately amusing though quite a bit of it is duplicated from the film's end credit sequence and even the deleted scene section of the disc.

WTHC TV is a 20-minute behind the scenes look at the making of How High, originally produced for the BET television channel. If your looking for some in-depth information about the production then your in the wrong place as this featurette offers little more then the usual promotional fluff. Consisting of film clips and interview footage this program is meant to try and sell you on the film. The interviews feature just about every cast member in the film, from leads Method Man and Redman to supporting players Fred Williard and Mike Epps. Most of these interviews try to be comical, but like the movie they just fall flat. Producer Danny Devito also pops by to talk about how funny he finds the film. Someone should tell Mr Devito that the movie really isn't funny at all, nor was "Screwed", another film financed by his Jersey Films production company, and that maybe in the future he should consult someone else before agreeing to make another dumb comedy. The best moments and I use the term best lightly are the interruptions by the fictional THC television network which feature Al "I Need Money" Shearer from the film, who wanders around trying to gain access to the set. Still this is just promotional junk that doesn't have any rewatchability potential. I'm somewhat surprised I sat through the entire thing once.

"Hide the Stash" is an interactive game where Method Man and Redman tell you how to hide your stash of drugs. This tells you to search out the two easter eggs on the disc, one of which is directly related to the game and one that isn't. If and when you finally find the correct hiding spot the payoff is less then stellar, as it's just the rappers talking. The non-game related easter egg is just simply another deleted scene.

"How High" is just as much about selling records and CDs as it is about selling movie tickets or DVDs, so Universal has included two music videos and a promo spot for the soundtrack. The music videos are How High (Part II) by Method Man and Redman featuring Toni Braxton and Round and Round (Remix) by Jonell and Method Man.

Trailers, trailers and more trailers describe the remainder of the disc's bonus materials, as not only do we get the theatrical trailer for "How High" but also the trailers for Universal theatrical release "Undercover Brother" and the upcoming Eminem film "8 Mile" which also stars Kim Basinger and Brittany Murphy, and is directed by Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys).  In the "Now Showing" section of the disc we get DVD promotional spots for both "American Pie" films as well as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". If that wasn't enough there are some brief sneak peak clips of some of the bonus material that's available on those discs. It would have been nice to have the full trailers for those films but this still is an effective marketing tie-in.

Also included are two text based features Cast and Crew Biographies and production notes.

How High
Overall
"How High" is one of those comedies that appeals to a very specific demographic and one that this reviewer is no longer part of. It's not particularly funny and at times is downright painful to watch. Method Man and Redman may have some hidden talent as actors, but they don't show it often enough for this movie to work. Universal's DVD edition on the other hand features an excellent video transfer and an above average audio mix in both 5.1 formats. There are also lots in the way of extras to keep fans busy for some time. If you've seen the film and liked it then there is no questioning that you'll enjoy the DVD. If you haven't seen the film then your really not missing much though if you need to see it for whatever reason then it's better you do it as a rental.


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