Watching improv is typically a brutally uncomfortable undertaking. If you don’t trust me, try watching an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and tell me I’m wrong—Wayne Brady singing about random shit will never be funny. But the improvised comedy in High Road works surprisingly well.

Matt Walsh is the writer/director of this effort, and he’s no stranger to improv/sketch comedy as a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. With a bare bones script providing the rough structure, the cast of High Road is unquestionably the highlight of this unique comedy. Just because High Road is a movie about a low level weed dealer doesn’t necessarily make it all about marijuana or a stoner comedy.

Remove that element of judgment.

If you’re looking at High Road for the oddball comedy that it is (think of something along the lines of Saving Silverman with some drug humor sprinkled in), then there’s plenty of innocent silliness to enjoy.

High Road opens with Fitz (played by James Pumphery), Richie (played by Matt Jones), and Tommy (played by Zach Woods) playing a gig with their band Tor Eagle in a dive bar. Shockingly, the music isn’t awful and it has enjoyed a little life in my head beyond this movie. But after the gig, Tommy reveals that his new promotion will leave no more time for the band, and Richie and his girlfriend Sheila (played by Lizzy Caplan) have a headline gig as a White Stripes cover band. Just like that, Tor Eagle is no more.

Uncle Creepy

All Fitz ever wanted was to play in a band. Although Fitz has his girlfriend Monica (played by Abby Elliott) to lean on, his life quickly spirals out of control. Fitz works from his “office” in the garage selling pot, and he somehow bonds with an unruly, stubborn teenager named Jimmy (played by Dylan O’Brien). The friendship that blooms between Fitz and Jimmy is the highlight of High Road.

I cannot say enough good things about the entire cast.

Dylan O’Brien is so fucking charming and funny as the fucked up teenager of Rob Riggle’s character, James Malone Sr.—a widowed father trying to do his best. Good luck finding a more likable person than Matt Jones (best known as Badger from Breaking Bad) because he seems like such a genuine human being despite what character he portrays. While there are a handful of hilarious moments, I was most impressed by High Road’s ability to actually tell a believable story with character development despite being largely improvised. Ultimately, Fitz is someone afraid to deal with his own daddy issues, but potential trouble with the law leads him out of town to Oakland to spend some time with dear ol’ dad.

Jimmy and Fitz

Unless you’re a stuffy old white person or completely lack any personality/semblance of humor, I promise you that this movie will not be a waste with a scant runtime of 83 minutes. And I’ll forever remember Sandwich Diplomacy and Triangle Theory after watching High Road. This movie may not be instant streaming forever so place it in your queue and eat a nice sandwich while watching it on Netflix.

Sandwiches fix everything.

3.5 out of 5 stars

“Your friends think they’re better than me, and if I thought real hard, I’d have to agree. I smoke cigarettes and too much weed, and I cuss a lot when I drink whiskey.

I want to give you what you need, I got a lot of flaws and no money. There’s not much that I believe, but I swear to God I got the Devil in me. Thanks for wasting time with me again. Thanks for wasting time on me.” — James Pumphrey


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