“Do you remember when we skipped class to go see Al Gore’s lecture on climate change?” Sam (Abby Quinn) protests, trying to find an argument against the suggestion of her friend Danielle (Stefanie Scott) that the two have never done anything remotely rebellious in their lives as they inch closer to going to college in Laura Terruso’s comedy “Good Girls Get High,” for which you can’t say the same thing. While explicitly once intended as a female answer to “Superbad” set up at a major studio, the second feature from the director of “Fits and Starts” is a wily, subversive treat as the two smoke a lifetime’s worth of ganja one evening in a bid to loosen up for different reasons.
At first, you might think there would be nothing that could separate the best friends and co-valedictorians who are so close they have a special pizza order named the “Samielle” named after them, yet just like the pie is eventually divvied up, Sam and Danielle are looking at the same fate as they start to receive their college acceptance letters. With Danielle looking towards attending a state school and Sam hoping for Harvard, despite the fact her father’s ice cream store has seen better days and paying tuition seems like it’ll be impossible, their days together seem numbered, but The latter, always making calculations, decides to preemptively put her dreams on hold, declining an early offer to wear crimson in the fall, figuring she and Danielle buy themselves four more years in the same zip code, only to discover Danielle has been accepted to Harvard herself.
Hence, much marijuana is in order, as well an apology to Harvard in Sam’s case, desperately trying to get back into their good graces, but “Good Girls Get High” wouldn’t work if the young women could easily let go of their anxiety and for as much silliness that occurs, it’s a stroke of comic genius on Terruso’s part to watch the two constantly working overtime to try and apply logic to their drug-induced actions that make no sense at all. While Sam scrambles to retrieve an errant text message to her chem teacher (Danny Pudi) and help complete the world’s longest bong, Danielle spends the evening trying to decide if she should make a move on a longtime crush (Booboo Stewart), both roads leading them towards the watchful eye of a pregnant narcotics officer (Lauren Lapkus), whose plans of an evening of “light DM’ing and ‘Game of Thrones’” are thwarted time and again by the girls’ exploits.
Notably, Terruso is clearly delighted as much by a strong visual gag as her often clever wordplay and she has a pair of actresses in Quinn and Scott who not only credibly feel like BFFs but when they say they’ll do anything for each other, the director makes them live up to their words. That comes to include putting themselves on the line emotionally as much as anything else and amidst the debaucherous behavior that results from pushing each other out of their respective comfort zones, there is a genuine sweetness to seeing Sam and Danielle see a side of each other they haven’t really witnessed before and deciding to embrace it. There is some Paul Dooley-level parenting to be found in the warm-hearted turns from Matt Besser as Sam’s put-upon pops and Anne Ramsay as one of Danielle’s moms, but it’s the maturity of the two teens that shines through, showing the wherewithal to pull themselves out of their own jams and grow up a little in the process, though thankfully not enough to keep “Good Girls Get High” from being an awfully fun time.