Movie Review: High School High (1996)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1996 comedy movie starring Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere.

Synopsis: An idealistic prep school teacher accepts a job at a failing inner city school and quickly finds his optimistic views challenged by students that would much rather fight than learn and a principal that is resistant to change. He slowly starts getting through to his students and even sees academic progress. However, when his entire class fails their final exam, things start to fall apart for him, at least until he learns the tests were switched.

Review

My wife had to work today and I had the house to myself when I was home at lunch so, mostly for the background noise, I ended up watching this movie. At first, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it since it had been a long time since I had seen it in its entirety and I’m not really that big of a Jon Lovitz fan. However, as it turns out, this movie was actually funnier than I thought it would be.

As I said before, Lovitz, who plays teacher Richard Clark, isn’t my favorite actor and he definitely wouldn’t be my first choice for a starring role in most movies. But, as it turns out, he was perfect for this film. He was very believable as a character that was full of confidence (at least when it came to teaching) and determined to help his students but, at the same time, pretty naïve.  Because of that, he didn’t need to do anything over the top in order to sell his character, making his involvement a little more realistic.

I personally loved this because it did let his character win over his class almost completely by accident, whether it was by accidentally entering a chicken race (similar to the one in “Rebel Without a Cause”) or standing up to gang members by being polite to them. In some ways, he was essentially a fraud, it’s just he and his students didn’t know that.

 The overall plot of this movie is a bit simple and predictable and, at first, I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. However, as it turns out, that actually did work to the movie’s advantage because there were quite a few sight gags and other jokes throughout, something that would have made a more- complicated story harder to follow. Plus, it allowed the movie to stay lighthearted rather than create a situation where it took itself too seriously. That made the film fun to watch.

High School High

From the creators of the Naked Gun series comes High School High. Richard C. Clark is an idealisticyoung teacher who leaves a position at a prestigious school headed by his own ...

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Final Opinion

It’s not a movie that is going to make my list of all-time favorites. But, while it was, as I mentioned, a bit predictable, it still turned out to be an enjoyable film to watch and I would recommend giving it a chance if you haven’t seen it before.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 06/04/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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