Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay – Review

A new generation’s Cheech and Chong has arrived

Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com

Director: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg
Notable Cast:
Kal Penn, John Cho, Rob Corddry, Roger Bart, Neil Patrick Harris

Harold & Kumar go to White Castle was never meant to be anything more than a one shot stoner comedy starring two relatively unknown actors. After a dismal theatrical run, the film found a second life on DVD and made its way into a cult classic by sheer force of will. With the film’s DVD providing an unexpected windfall of profit, and in a Hollywood seemingly in love with making sequels, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay has posited the stoners 24 hours after the events of their fateful night of burger-induced shenanigans.

This time around their mutual love of pot gets them into trouble. Heading to Amsterdam to chase a woman Harold (John Cho) had seemingly caught at the end of the first film, Kumar (Kal Penn) gets the duo into serious trouble when his bong is mistaken for a bomb. Arrested as terrorists by an overzealous Department of Homeland Security Agent (Rob Corddry), the duo is sent to the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison facility in a seemingly gross sense of injustice. When the duo escapes, they head on the run across America.

While the film is notable for being in the same vein as the first, it’s interesting to see writer/director combination Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg try and top what they did the first time around. The film has the same heart the first did, giving us a reason to continue to care about the two marijuana enthusiasts, but at the same its sheer level of gumption is something to behold. Taking shots at anything and everything, the Harold & Kumar 2 is a beautiful farce of a movie that lampoons everything and anything it can with a sense of timelessness. This isn’t the sort of film that Superhero Movie stunk itself out as; this is designed more for repeated viewing as opposed to being a satire on current pop culture. Hurwitz and Schlossberg know that the first film has a substantial reputation and designed the second in the same manner.

This isn’t a film of high brow intellectual humor. From the opening scene, which features several bodily function gags, the film throws out as much raunchy and filthy humor as it can on a consistent basis. Almost all of the humor works, too, which is a rarity, but there are extended moments when several jokes fail in a row. To their credit, Penn and Cho keep things interesting but there’s only so much they can do to keep some off-moments from taking the film of its track.

With about 15 more minutes of material than is probably needed, the second Harold & Kumar film works on a number of levels but ultimately is designed with fans of the first film in mind. Its not the best comedy of the year, or even the month, but its solid entertainment and will probably earn the same cult status as the first did.


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