How High understands the cultural difference between blacks and whites. If a black man wants to get his groove on with that rare breed of soul sister that actually likes Kevin Costner, a little weed goes a long way in keeping him awake during Field of Dreams. Everything comes at a price, though, which means SNL’s Tracy Morgan might just make a cameo appearance during a brother’s pot-induced version of the Costner film. The best stoner film since Friday, equal opportunity offender How High trades any semblance of plot in favor of ganja-stoked gags that crackle because they absurdly rework the college cliché through ghetto signifiers. While others may have used chocolate as a study aide, Silas (Method Man) and Jamal (Redman) ace their way into Harvard via smoking up. Their free-floating hallucinations are hysterical (occasionally witnessed by the sober sect), from a dwarf who dons Christmas attire to the Goliath-sized figure of Silas’s mother hovering over a Harvard/Yale rowing match. Unlike the similarly themed Legally Blonde, How High‘s academic infiltrators are smart from the beginning (they’re just unwilling to discard their Fubu for acceptance), suggesting academia should conform to the outsider rather than the other way around. First-time director Jesse Dylan has no real visual style yet he’s in firm control of his hyper-extended jokes—Silas and Jamal take revenge out on a Pee-wee-esque student patrolmen’s bike (which is put through the vehicular wringer). The filmmakers recognize only projectile vomit works nowadays while the Baby Powder pimp scene is about as wicked and honest a pot-moment since Ashton Kutcher tried to order Chinese food in Dude, Where’s My Car?. That said, How High is perhaps best savored during that peak high where a Costner landscape begins to resemble a Malick existential crisis.
If at all possible, How High's pristine transfer to DVD may actually work against the film's ganja-stoked visual palette. Regardless, the colors here are richly saturated and the shadow detail is commendable. There are two 5.1 English audio tracks to choose from though you may have a hard time trying to distinguish the Dolby Digital from the DTS during the film's non-musical moments. Whenever the music thumps, the DTS soundtrack provides a much fuller experience. This How High DVD edition comes with optional English captions and French and Spanish subtitles.
The extras on the How High DVD begin with a 21-minute making-of documentary called "WTHC Special" (named after a fictional stoner television station that Method Man promotes as "How High Television, Channel 13"). This freestyle, mostly forgettable featurette feels entirely too much like an extended trailer for the film with frequent cutaways to disposable on-set interviews from the cast. More impressive than the film's outtakes (see the film's credit sequence for a more hysterical sample of cutting-room material) are the film's deleted scenes. These ousted scenes (sans commentary track) may be useless yet the 20 minutes worth of material opens with an awkward sequence where Method Man and Redman steal from their fellow classmates (was this left on the cutting room floor because it would have made their characters less than noble?) and includes a hysterical sequence inside the film's science lab that may have been deleted because two projectile vomiting scenes in one movie may have been one two many. While the commentary track by Method Man and Redman may prove to be less than informative, the track is never dull thanks to their ganja-induced blather. Click on the "Hide the Stash" feature and Method Man and Redman will announce that they've hid their stash somewhere on the DVD. What should have been the disc's quirky highlight becomes a too-easy game of hide and seek. Also included here is the film's theatrical trailer, two music videos (Jonell and Method Man's "Round And Round Remix" and Method Man and Redman's "Part II"), a soundtrack spot, production notes, a Universal Showcase section with trailers for the upcoming Undercover Brother and Curtis Hanson's Eminem bio-flick 8 Mile and a Now Showing montage of Universal teen flicks from the past 20 or so years. A DVD-ROM Features section states that DVD-ROM Materials "may" include interactive materials such as games, screensavers and additional material about the movie. This may be Universal's underhanded way of getting us to pop the DVD into our DVD-ROM drive. Upon careful inspection, there doesn't seem to be any supplemental online material specific to the film.
Method Man opens this meaty DVD edition's commentary track with the following words of wisdom: "Let's turn the lights down in this motherfucker."