High School High

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 10/30/96)

By Alex Lau

There's nothing quite so risky as a parody movie. Some of them work out wonderfully, and examples like "Blazing Saddles" and "Airplane!" are two of the funniest movies ever made.

On the other hand, sometimes you get examples like "High School High," the new film starring Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere. It's supposed to be a spoof of the "Dangerous Minds" type of movie, where a teacher comes into an inner city high school and changes everything around.

Lovitz plays a teacher named Richard Clark -- get it, Dick Clark? -- who quits his job at a posh private school and takes a position at the worst public high school in the district, Marion Berry High. He meets the beautiful administrative assistant, played by Carrere, and the hard-nosed principal, played by Louise Fletcher. Yes, former Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher. Can you say, "tragic waste of talent"? I knew you could.

The rest revolves around Clark's quest to give a young man a chance to get to college by passing the high school proficiency exam. Somehow a drug deal and a gangster get involved, and... well, I really stopped caring after that. There's a rapid-fire style to the gags, so if there's a joke you don't find funny, there's another one coming right at you. Some of the jokes actually work, such as the receptionist at the private school answering the phone with, "Wellington Academy, are you white?" But the overall batting average was worse than the San Francisco Giants.

It's hard to believe that co-writer and co-producer David Zucker was also involved in "Airplane!" and the Naked Gun movies. Then again, director Hart Bochner's previous effort was "PCU," so draw your own conclusions.

Regardless of who's to blame, "High School High" has a couple of funny bits, but it's dragged out too long and definitely not worth the time. "High School High" is a new low for the year.

Copyright 1996 Alex Lau

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