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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > High Hopes (2005/Lionsgate DVD)

High Hopes (2005/Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: C-     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Feature: C-



There are far too many stoner comedies out there and far too many independent films about nobodies in Hollywood trying to become big shots, and only a small fraction of either is worth seeing.  That’s why it’s so refreshing to see that when the two are combined, the result is not necessarily terrible.  High Hopes (originally titled Nice Guys) is the story of three roommates trying to make it big in Hollywood and get their film produced.  All they have to do is steal $2.5 million worth of pot.


Yes, it’s a fairly standard “get the MacGuffin” (go look it up, things will make a lot more sense) type plot, but there are a few really funny moments and the dialogue is actually fairly well written.  In fact, the dialogue is so naturalistic and anti-Hollywood style that you may almost overlook the gaping plot holes.  Why is nobody but three wannabe filmmakers and the FBI looking for $2.5 million worth of government engineered super-weed that happened to fall into the hands of a small-time dealer?  Why are there never any repercussions for conning a major Hollywood studio into giving the main character a multi-million dollar film role by impersonating Sean Connery?  Why is it that Jason Mewes getting high is still funny after all these years?


The film is studded with B-list cameos, almost to the point of being a distraction, but obviously they were necessary to get any kind of funding or distribution because they dominate the DVD cover and title menus.  Aside from the actual tiny screen shots on the back cover, only 4 of the 9 actors featured on any of the promotional art are actually main characters, and of those 4, the protagonist of the film is entirely absent.


The picture, in 2.35:1 widescreen is very obviously shot on video and consequently suffers from an amateurish aesthetic, not helped by the occasional poorly-framed shot.  The audio is much better though in 2.0 stereo and, along with a few well-executed tracking shots, helps to partially redeem the technical filmmaking.


The special features on the disc are sparse consisting only of a director’s commentary track and a horribly edited trailer.  The trailer, at two minutes and forty-five seconds, is actually harder to sit through than the ninety minute film.


In the end, High Hopes is a far better movie than you’d expect it to be.  Unfortunately, that still doesn’t mean that it’s particularly good.  There’s a reason why it was made in 2005 and only released now.



-   Matthew Carrick


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