Tuesday, July 8, 2008

#11: Super High Me


Super High Me
Directed by Michael Blieden
Released April 20, 2008

Super High Me is comedian Doug Benson's tribute to Morgan Spurlock's indictment on McDonalds and fast food, Super Size Me. Benson's focus, however, is not fast food.

Here, I'll just let one of his stand-up monologues speak for him:

"If eating McDonalds for 30 days is a movie and people are willing to pay to see it, I've got a movie. I'm gonna smoke pot every day for 30 days, try to remember to film it, and my movie's gonna be called Super High Me. Or, Business As Usual, I haven't decided yet."

Thus begins Super High Me, which began as a joke until Benson actually decided to go through with his idea. For this part parody/part stoner comedy, Benson performed two 30 day trials: first going 30 days without smoking pot (Benson was named "High Time Magazine's #2 pot comic of the year"), then 30 days where he smoked all day every day like it could cure all disease (it can't). During these two periods, he took a series of tests -- sperm count, IQ, lung capacity, physicals, even a test of his psychic powers -- and interviewed everyone from other comedians to his physician to the owners of pot dispensaries in the Los Angeles area.

Surprisingly, the first portion of the movie where Benson must abstain from his daily weed regimen was the far more entertaining half. I guess it stands to reason that the second half isn't as funny; just like watching anyone who is too drunk or too stoned, Benson at times becomes a chore to watch. Everything in the second half suffers, from his stand-up act (which, while funny, bogs down both halves of the movie) to his interactions with the camera, the viewers and his interview subjects. Contrasted with his relative sharpness in the first half of the movie, he can be a little embarassingly high.

The film does manage to cram a bit of information between the stoner jokes, especially regarding California's legalization of pot and the Federal Government's refusal to see the legitimacy of those laws. Still, you really have to be Straightlaced Joe Public to not already have heard or read about most of the information presented here. Plus, as a sort of variation on the ideas behind Super Size Me, it fails somewhat at present a compelling argument for either side of the coin.

I guess when the credits say "Based on a joke by. . . ," I'm probably setting my expectations a little high.

(Ooh, see what I did there? That's a pun!)

I have to add: is it any coincidence that when Benson does finally kick off his 30 days of smoking, half of Jane's Addiction wind up in his dressing room to get him high? You can almost see the devil horns sticking out of Dave Navarro's forehead.

I suppose I could say watching Super High Me is kind of like what smoking marijuana is like: at first, everything seems more funny than it probably really is, and then gradually you feel tired, a little anxious and ready to either go do something else or rewind to the start, where again, everything seemed so much funnier.

For more on Super High Me:
- More information at IMDB
- Buy Super High Me at the movie's official site. There you'll also find deleted scenes not even available on the DVD.

2 minute "teaser" video from YouTube:

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