There are a few buzzwords that grab people’s attention without any hesitation at Fantastic Fest – among them, “stoner pals” is very near the top of the list. Taking a cue from classic buddy flicks, this rambunctious comedy from director Manuel Facal has tons of charm. If you’re not hooked by the 12 minute mark, or at least laughing a lot, you might want to try new medication because something is definitely wrong with you. In the film, stoner pals Elias (Joaquín Tome) and Andres (Santiago Quintans) get up to all kinds of drug-fueled craziness, and once the membrane-drain train starts, there’s no getting off.
What sets this apart from either slow-going stoner flicks, or crazy medicinally themed misadventures, is the brilliant and rapid-fire editing. High Five (or Relocos Y Repasados) is a hilarious comedy from Uruguay and while it feels like a partial mix of other drug based films, High Five still has a great identity and is quite unique. It certainly helps raise the bar for (nearly) non-stop fun and adventurous buddy comedies but it also raises the bar for the sub-genre itself.
High Five plays like a web series with something to prove; it hits the gas and never looks back. The gags are hysterical, and the two leads (imagine Shaun and Ed in high school) become lost in their own story. It’s a combustible comedy of errors as each person in this derelict five person outfit (which includes minors) takes a different drug and the whole, more or less, team struggles to deal with the effects. Difficulty abounds as the frazzled five somehow have to get through their normal day – high school exams, driving, grocery shopping, even daring rescues – before finally facing the steroid freaks whose drugs Elias happened upon in the first place. Confused? Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense.
We at GST are not fans of dubbed films, and, thankfully, this is presented with the Spanish language track. However, those guys from Uruguay go soooo fast that it’s kind of hard to keep up (and trust us, hanging around with them at the Fest, even driving them around Austin, we still had trouble keeping up…and they were speaking English – you guys are still awesome!). But, even though they operate at a mile a minute, the jokes all land as intended and bring out huge belly laughs. It’s not as offensive as New Kids Nitro but, if there were ever such a thing as a “laugh counter”, you’ll find that the set up/delivery ratio is almost dead even between the two films.
The film is a breezy, but rather clever little junkie adventure that plays fast and loose with skits and hijinx that, surprisingly, never get old. But just when things do eventually settle into a drug coma, or start to lose steam from too much indulgence, director Manuel Facal gives the film the boost it needs and things snap back into fast-paced hysteria.
High Five succeeds, in large part, because of the chemistry between the leads (Tome and Quintans). That said, even when they are apart in most of the feature (as the film finds the five characters pairing up in different ways to handle the crisis of the moment) they prove they work as well on their own as they do in the same scene. Whether intended or simply perceived as such, High Five echoes, and brings back memories of great ’80s era midnight movies. But Facal and company manage to come up with so many new and innovative ideas that you’ll want to see a High Five trilogy before the credits even roll. Even if you’re as sober as a priest on Sunday, High Five is a trip worth taking!