Featuring the voices of Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts. Rating unavailable
Mumblecore meets 2-D animation in this handcrafted artifact that spends 75 strange minutes, sometimes amusingly, searching for an audience that might not really be there.
This freely drawn nuttiness starts with the odd, present-tense title that graphic novelist, director, and principal animator Dash Shaw came up with for his debut tour de farce. A teen-angst tale that goes off the rails within minutes, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea takes place in a fictional California escuela built on an unusually active fault line.
This is unknown to best friends Dash and Assaf, voiced by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, respectively. They write for the school paper, nominally edited by the less ego-driven Verti (Maya Rudolph). But when Assaf and Verti start getting closer, Dash—a misanthrope with acne-related self-loathing issues—puts out a special issue slurring his best pal. Dash is banished from the paper, and then does a little sleuthing on his own, managing to find—among papers just randomly dropped in a box—a government document declaring that any new add-ons to the school building could lead to a seismic disaster.
That’s not the least plausible thing that happens. The storytelling here is essentially a child’s view of adult shenanigans, uplifted by A-listers like Lena Dunham and Girls cohort Alex Karpovsky as fellow students and Susan Sarandon as a surprisingly helpful Lunch Lady. Dialogue is frequently drowned out by pounding electronic retro-arcade music. That’s not the only drowning, of course, but things become more interesting—which is to say crazily unpredictable—when the school really does slide into the Pacific.
The laws of physics do not apply to this Breakfast Club–meets–The Poseidon Adventure, and that unleashes painterly drawings that are more fun for being untethered from anything like reality. Of course, the film reveals its inner Afterschool Special when the surviving teens (yawn) learn and grow. “Next time,” concludes Dash, after writing about his underwater crisis, “I’ll water it down so it can be shitty, and more popular.” Maybe.