Originally written in March of 2013. My third movie review I ever wrote, and one of my personal favorites that I’ve done.
Mac & Devin Go to High School
A Movie Review/Rant by Reece Theberge
In October of 2011, artists Snoop Dogg (Now Snoop Lion), Wiz Khalifa, and Bruno Mars released the single “Young, Wild, and Free”. The song was an almost instant hit, reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and overtime, gained the #7 spot, as well as receiving a nomination at the 2013 Grammy’s for Best Rap Song. In personal opinion, I actually really like the song. It’s laid back beat mixed with in with a soothing melody while Snoop and Wiz provide some very fun lyrics, coupled with Bruno’s soft relaxed voice makes it the perfect song to listen to if you just want to kick back and chill for a few hours, at least to me. However, we are not talking about the song nor the album it came off of. Actually, I tell a lie, because the only way you could have found out about today’s movie is if you looked at the album, titled “Mac & Devin Go to High School”. At first, you think it would be a concept album, with Wiz and Snoop taking on the personas Mac & Devin as they talk about their teenage years. And you would be correct, sort of. Because, if you look at the bottom of the cover, it reads: “Music From and Inspired by the Movie”. That sentence alone punches you in the gut and makes you ask, “What movie? Wait, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa made a movie together?” And the answer would be, yes they did. A direct-to-video abomination titled the same as it’s album.
So what is the movie about? What gripping, entertaining, and challenging story do these lyrical maestros have for us to examine and digest? Well, our good Ole’ friends at Wikipedia came up with a very quick and easy synopsis of the movie. And to be completely honest, they tell the story a lot better than the movie does:
The story follows Valedictorian hopeful Devin Overstreet (Wiz Khalifa) struggling to pen his graduation speech when it becomes clear that all his academic over achievements have left him with little to no real-life experiences. He finds an unlikely inspiration in the least-achieving student on campus, Mac Johnson (Snoop Dogg). Mac, a 15-year senior and consummate ladies man, is smitten by the school’s new substitute chemistry teacher (Teairra Mari). He soon realizes that the only way he will truly have a chance with her is if he finally graduates high school. In 3 weeks time, Mac must cram four years of high school academics, while Devin must cram four years of teenage experience.
I’m not going to joke around, I truly loathe this “movie”. It’s just a one-joke movie, and the joke isn’t even funny. It’s about pot. It’s about Marijuana. Weed, reefer, cannabis, hash, kush. It’s just a pot comedy that revolves around two guys getting high. And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind. The movies by Cheech and Chong were good, and they were pot comedies. But at least they weren’t actually high during the filming. This is was painful ordeal to sit through due to the unending padding this movie had. Yeah, this movie is 75% filler. If you could re-edit this 75-minute turkey and cut every pointless and useless scene, it would be 30-minutes long at best.
I don’t really know where to even begin. The acting is terrible, for one. Khalifa is such a stiff and bland actor, that for a moment, I found the wall more alive than he was. And I was absolutely disappointed by Snoop’s lack of energy and motivation in his role. I mean, these two just ooze personality and charisma on their albums, concerts, and songs. Couldn’t they have brought ANY life to this brain-dead mess? And let’s not forget the bland, cliche supporting cast either. You have Devin’s controlling girlfriend (Teni Panosian), the zero-personality substitute teacher Ms. Huck, the so-blatant antagonist Assistant Principal Skinfloot (Derek D), and the foul-mouthed, handicapped, pothead (Andy Milonakis). Oh yeah, and the absolutely terrifying, soul stealing, sexist, CGI blunt “Slow Burn” voiced by, of all people, Mystikal. I’m not joking that the first time I saw this character, I jumped out of my seat by just how wrong he looked, with his expressionless eyes and non-synced lip movements.
But perhaps the biggest problem with the movie is the overuse of marijuana. Now I know the legalization of marijuana is a touchy, controversial subject and I don’t want to come across as biased towards this movie because of my thoughts on the subject. With that in mind, I will say that I, personally, am for the legalization of reefer as a regulated and taxed substance, like tobacco and alcohol. If you disagree, that is perfectly fine, but I don’t think that you need any stance on the subject to know how absolutely wrong this movie with the effects and science of cannabis. First off, the characters in this movie not only smoke pot A LOT, but it seems like some of them are addicted to the substance. Ignoring that most studies show that hash is less addicting than tobacco (though some people may form an addiction), I don’t think substance abuse/addiction is really that funny of a subject to make fun of. Second, the scene where Devin eats a kush brownie for the first time, he starts to have hallucinations, which isn’t one of the side effects of the drug. The most well-known side effect of the drug, and why people take it, is the calm, relaxed, sedated feeling, not to “trip balls”. Another scene is a 5-minute montage of Mac and Devin trying different variations of smoking pot, from joints, to bongs, to stuff I don’t even know what to classify as. Now aside from the fact that this scene goes on WAY too long and is so slowed paced that snails are passing them in terms of speed, I’m pretty damn sure that even though the drug may not kill you, I know for a fact inhaling all that smoke will most probably lead to your lungs being choked and you will most likely die from carbon monoxide poisoning. And the “funniest” thing about this is that during this scene, there is a guy in a weed plant costume (Affion Crocket) on the TV explaining the science of hash, which is hilarious as this movie seems to have no idea on what the effects of pot really are. And they have the gaul to end the movie with “Slow Burn” actually giving a “speech” on the “benefits” of pot , which boils down to essentially: “It makes you cool, it opens your mind, and you can do whatever with it.” I appreciate the effort to shed a positive light on marijuana, but when your “benefit’s speech” is copied from what Anti-Smoking group used as the way dealers talk to their customers, then I think your intention will be lost. “Mac & Devin Go to High School” (Get it? HIGH School?) is what I consider the different side to the same coin shared by the 1930’s film “Reefer Madness”, which was an anti-reefer propaganda film that used a silly and stupid story to detail the “horrors” of marijuana which proved to be extremely wrong, to which “Mac & Devin Go to High School” is a pro-hash comedy that tells a ridiculous and absent-minded story all the while providing “facts” on the cannabis plant, which are entirely false.
Overall, I give this movie a 0 out of 5. It’s horribly directed, scripted, acted, shot, and executed. Under no circumstances should it be justified to watch this. It’s not funny, it’s VERY sexist towards women and men, and it’s just downright unpleasant. And I didn’t even go into half of the pointless scenes, padding, and things wrong with the movie, because if I did, we’d be here all day. Just take my word for it and stay as far away as possible. If you want the facts on the pot, you are not going to find them here, and I suggest you do your own research, which will be 100x more than what little “research” they put in this. If you want to see Khalifa and Dogg shine, check out “Young, Wild, and Free”, and, if you like that, check out the album, as it’s not half-bad. It’s probably the only good thing to come out of this travesty. And if you want a good drug-related movie, look up either “Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke”, or even “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. At least the drugs, for good or for bad, are represented properly. For now, I’m out.