Mac & Devin Go to High School
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Mac & Devin Go to High School

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Movies based on states of excessive inebriation have traditionally held a special place in American cinema. While it is true that such intoxicated states result in terrible consequences the movie going public and found a way to overcome the tragic aspects of the physical state and use it as a source of humor. Originally the substance initiation the altered state of consciousness was the simplest on the molecular level and the oldest for regular production substancesintended to achieve the stare of intoxication; alcohol. The stumbling drunkard made into a well established trope by such comedians as W.C. Fields has been perpetuated for many decades up to current times. Recently another pharmacological agents has become the go to means of altering the state of consciousness; marijuana. Since the summer of love in the late sixties pot use has been treated differently by society reflected by filmmakers. The forbidden nature of imbedding weed has given way to medical usage, political debate and in many cases open use of pot. Has an almost nature course of events the stoner flick has for a large degree been incorporated into another archetypical for of movie: the coming of age film. This has given rise to a variant genre widely known as the high school flick focusing on sex, drugs, alcohol and drug use. Although it is a parental nightmare it has proven to be a popular and exceptionally lucrative staple of the movie industry. Usually rated ‘R’ which theoretically precludes its target audience from seeing it in the theaters these films have become standard fair for Friday night movie time. They might have arisen from a sense of teen rebellion it has become one of the most formulaic types of movies around. One of the latest offerings to join this ever growing list of stoner comedies is under review here; ‘Mac & Devin Go to High School’. The movie features popular musicians known for their adroit rapping which is a major factor in the overall popularity of the film. It is entirely possible that the soundtrack may exceed the revenues of the theatrical release a relatively new phenomenon. People are drawn to this flick for its musical content and remain watching for the humorous take on sex, pot and defying authority.

Devin Overstreet (Wiz Khalifa) has always been an exemplary student maintaining a stellar record of academic achievement and impeccable example of good behavior. It was far from a surprise to anyone that Devlin should be on the short list for the lauded position of Valedictorian for his graduating class. He is charged with submitting his speech for final consideration but for once in his life he is challenged to the point of freezing at a school assignment. Traditionally the commencement speech focuses on leaving the protected environment of high school behind as the graduates venture out into the world. The trouble as perceived by Devlin is he has devoted the vast majority of his time to academics to the complete exclusion of any experiences pertaining to real life. This prompts the youthful scholar to consider a solution that is impossibly out of the box. He feels that he needs a mentor in the ways of reality. To achieve this goal he seeks out assistance from the most lease likely candidate for that position. He approaches the schools most notorious reprobate, Mac Johnson (Snoop Dogg). Mac has been a more enduring figure at the school than many of the faculty. He has been repeating his senior year an unimaginable fifteen times. This is where the elements of a farce are brought to bear. At the very core of the farce is a ridiculous premise that no sane person could ever accept. Before you dismiss this type of comedy keep in mind it was a standard format for writers including Shakespeare. This is not to imply this film possesses the slightest iota of the quality found in those examples of the farce but it does permit a basis not to dismiss the film solely on the basis of the outlandish plot device. It was obviously a ply to account for the readily notable age difference between Snoop Dogg and the rest of the student body.

To make this premise work to the degree required traditionally there has to be some form of quid pro quo developed. This is manifested Mac needs something from the naive Devlin. Although Mac has never encountered any problem with the opposite gender he finds his latest target out of reach. She is the substitute chemistry teacher, Ms Huck (Teairra Mari). As a woman motivated by science and education she represents the unreachable for Mac. The deal is stuck that Mac will show Devlin real life if the young man helps Mac’s chances with the teacher. At least this is the proposed premise and one that does have some precedent. What you certainly do get with this flick is a seventy five minute long sketch on oh funny people are while entirely stoned out of their minds. I have the nagging suspicion that the weed consumed on set has not an inactive substitute. In fact I have to hold to the consensus the copious quantities of ultra premium grade marijuana figured prominently in every phase of the production from the original story concept to the final post production meeting. Mr. Dogg has a reputation for being an aficionado of herbal remedies for reality. I also wonder if the craft services manager had to supply an inordinate amount of pizza, chips and other snacks. The movie actually ends around the hour mark but is padded by fifteen minutes with an animated featurette proposing the legalization of pot. The bottom line is the film does deliver exactly what you expect with a soundtrack that will ‘spark’ the attention of hip-hop fans. Say what you might about the flick but it does represent honesty in marketing.

Posted 06/25/12

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