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Film / High School High

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High School High is a 1996 comedy film directed by David Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), affectionately parodying the Save Our Students genre.

Richard Clark (Jon Lovitz) is a hopeful teacher who decides to defy his elitist boss and father by deciding to teach at an inner city school instead of the prestigious academy position his father had selected for him. At Barry High School he finds the school dilipidated and the kids out of control, but vows to better the place with the help of Ms. Chapell (Tia Carrere).

This film provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: It parodies Save Our Students films, but is never mean-spirited in doing so. The main character genuinely wants to help the kids, playing the trope more or less straight in a heavily exaggerated environment.
  • Funny Afro: There's a student with model cars driving through his afro, and another student whose towering afro absorbs a blow from a baseball-bat wielding teacher. The poster also shows Jon Lovitz with an afro.
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Mr. Clark took after his mother (who looks exactly like Jon Lovitz).
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Jon Lovitz tries to infiltrate some heroin dealers. They notice that he has no needle marks on his arms, which he explains by saying that he usually takes his drugs "in the ass". They suspect his story and tell him to shoot up. He tries but doesn't know how, and ends up snapping the rubber hose in one of the thugs' face.
  • Impossible Thief: When Mr. Clark first goes to the Inner City School, his car is stolen seconds after he parked it—from an enclosed parking space. Then his briefcase is stolen by breaking off the handles while he was holding it.
  • Inner City School: It's a parody of films where a teacher tries to inspire inner city schoolkids.
  • Left the Background Music On: The trailer starts by playing Gangster Paradise, then has the teacher protagonist abruptly changing channels on his car radio, showing it to be a parody of Save Our Students movies.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Mr. Clark takes attendance on the first day, a student arrives late. He asks why she is late, and she responds, "because the bell rang before I got here."
  • My Nayme Is: There's a character named "Cady" and pronounced "Katie."
  • Personal Raincloud: When Mr. Clark is fired after the students all fail the exams and is booed away, the rain in the scene turns out to be coming from a personal raincloud accompanying Mr. Clark.
  • Save Our Students: Simultaneously parodied and played straight. The school is initially absurdly run down and overrun by criminals, but Mr. Clark plays the "kindhearted Cool Teacher" trope pretty much straight. Him being The Comically Serious is part of the joke.
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: Over the opening credits, David Zucker is credited as a hieroglyphic symbol accompanied by the words "The Producer Formerly Known as David Zucker."
  • You Make Me Sic: Jon Lovitz plays a High School English teacher in a very bad school. In one scene, while facing the blackboard, he asks the students for a sample sentence so he can point out the various parts of speech. A gangbanger pokes his head in the door and delivers a death threat in fairly heavy Ebonics. Lovitz's character mistakes it for a suggestion, and writes it out on the board. He immediately begins correcting the grammar, to the confusion of the gangbanger who threatened him. After a few attempts to make simple changes, Lovitz gives up and says "This is just poor syntax."