A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the 2011 Mac and Devin Go to High School is rapper Snoop Dogg's unapologetic tribute to the joys and benefits of getting high on marijuana, a case he makes without any real reference to possible drawbacks to the drug's use. A cartoon character called Slow Burn, shaped like a rolled marijuana cigarette, is the narrator. He provides a tutorial on weed and its various forms and nicknames: "kush," "Mary Jane," "the Green." Women are frequently referred to as "bitches." Bare breasts are shown as high school students have sex, sometimes with other students and in one case with a prostitute, and language includes "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "p---y," "ass," and "d--k." It's implied that in order to get out of trouble, a student who sells weed will have to perform sexual acts with the female principal. A student is having an affair with her father's best friend. A teenager reports that because his girlfriend is "saving it," she will only have anal sex with him. Mac and a girl find a yard-long joint in the principal's office and, with the P.A. system broadcasting their conversation to the school, they talk about how unimaginably "big" it is while they breathe heavily. A blond exchange student tells the camera that she'd give a "Swedish blow job" in exchange for weed. A woman in a skimpy leopard-print bikini runs her hands over her body suggestively. Two girls kiss. An assistant principal says he wants to fill the new substitute with his "man seed." Given that studies shows that younger brains are more susceptible to permanent damage from drug use, parents should be especially aware that setting the action in a high school and presenting the talented and likable rapper Wiz Khalifa may make marijuana use seem attractive to younger viewers.
What's the story?
MAC AND DEVIN GO TO HIGH SCHOOL opens with a cartoon marijuana joint called Slow Burn explaining that you can't watch a weed movie without smoking weed. Overage high school student Mac (Snoop Dogg) is the local dealer and perpetual senior for the last 15 years. His only motivation to finally graduate comes in the form of the beautiful AP chem teacher Ms. Huck (Teairra Mari), who wears a low-cut, cleavage-baring cocktail dress to class and will only date Mac if he finishes school. Devin (Wiz Khalifa) is the bright young senior who is writing his valedictorian speech. After graduation he expects to get a scholarship to Yale, arranged by his controlling girlfriend, Ashley (Teni Panosian). She has been refusing to have sex with Devin but, it turns out, is having an affair with her father's best friend. Mac is trading weed for sex and other commodities; in one example, he gets the answers to the math final exam. Mac introduces Devin to weed, feeding him a laced brownie without Devin's knowledge and then spends the rest of the night with him, smoking more and explaining the need to smoke day and night. While high, Devin gets tattooed on his face, neck, arms, and torso. The Khalifa-Snoop Dogg-Bruno Mars collaboration, "Young, Wild and Free," is performed at the graduation. Everyone smokes and dances at graduation.
Is it any good?
The good news about this movie is that it's only 75 minutes long. Perhaps the special effects are deliberately clunky and ancient-looking. And perhaps neither Snoop Dogg nor his collaborators meant to be either clever or thoughtful. It's no surprise that Mac and Devin Go to High School opens with a warning that full enjoyment of the film can only be achieved in a state of smoke-hazed diminished capacity.
This is not to say that Snoop Dogg isn't infectiously contented in his extra-mellow persona. And Wiz Khalifa is a surprisingly good actor. Perhaps one day this may be rediscovered and appreciated by audiences of the future as an artifact of bygone repressed times. For now, it's a good one for teens to skip.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of marijuana, especially in light of its legalization in some American states. Do you think Mac and Devin Go to High School explains that even when substances become legal they still might not be safe for young people, whose brains are still developing?
Do you think teens are more likely to accept and agree with this movie's message because likable and well-known figures -- rap artist Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg -- are promoting it?
What are the consequences of taking drugs?
- In theaters: October 8, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: July 3, 2012
- Cast: Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Mike Epps, Teairra Mari, Teni Panosian
- Director: Dylan C. Brown
- Studio: Anchor Bay
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: for pervasive drug content and use, language and sexual content
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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