I remember when I was a teenager and I put High Strung on the VCR for my cousin to watch. I had seen it several times and this looked like a good option for a sleepover. After 4 minutes, she commented: “What a long scene!”. “Well, - said I - actually, this scene is pretty much the whole movie.” She protested and asked if we could see something else.
As I browse the IMDB forums I see that many people had the same experience. There’s no consensus with High Strung: some will know how to appreciate it, others won’t. A whole movie about a guy hanging around in his apartment, talking to himself and to the viewer complaining about menial things is not for everybody.
The things is: that’s not the whole movie.
First off, his monologues, despite dealing with totally different subjects, are incredibly cohesive. It always amazes me how he goes from complaining about the absurdity of the things he reads in the paper to how horrible watermelon popsicles with real seed are.
This is probably what attracts some people and scare off others. Many find his comments realistic or funny. Others just find them annoying.
I grant that the constant rants might be a little too much to take in, but Steve Oedekerk (writer and main actor) put much more into the movie. Even though I do think these bad tempered characters, like Larry David, very funny, it might get a little bit tiring if that’s all there is to it.
The twist in High Strung is that the annoyed writer of children’s books (priceless!) keeps seeing this weird looking Jim Carey whenever he closes his eyes.
Plus, he receives phone calls from a strange and scary voice telling him to be prepared for “8 o’clock”. Sounds like the plot of the “The ring”, but I will say no more because the ones who stick to the end will have a great surprise – not only funny and unexpected, but also inspiring.
That’s a considerable feat, if you consider that Oedekerk is not actually promoting a pessimistic outlook on life, but encouraging quite the opposite.