Hair High

Showing at Northwest Film Forum, Thurs., March 23–Wed., March 29. Not rated. 75 minutes.

As an animator, Bill Plympton can do anything—he has a virtuoso technique, but his visual imagination is largely limited to the endless malleability of the human body. In a short format, like his 1989 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, this can be hilarious. But, on evidence of Hair High, Plympton's no storyteller, either visually or verbally. His gleefully crude send-up of '50s teen culture and Tales From the Crypt–style gross-out horror turns out to be surprisingly and ponderously unfunny.

Premise: Quarterback Rod and cheerleader Cherri rule their school, making life particularly miserable for unflappable new kid Spud. Conclusion: horrific revenge wrought on prom night. What happens in between, despite sex, snot, and viscera galore, is pretty tedious. Luxury voice-over casting (Sarah Silverman, Beverly D'Angelo, Keith and David Carradine, even Simpsons creator Matt Groening) is wasted on a lame, leaden script. Even the title's satirical conceit— towering, brittle hairdos like rococo dinosaur crests as markers of social status—barely registers.

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