Review of “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” (2008) R 1h 42min
April 28th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 7,841 Views
John Cho and Kal Penn of “Harold & Kumar go to White Castle” are back for a sequel written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who also directed the film this time around.
The plot: The plot picks up right when Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) come back home from their White Castle burger adventure. Harold’s girlfriend Maria (Paula Garcés) is still in Amsterdam. There’s a new character now, Vanessa (Daneel Harris) – Kumar’s old love interest, who is about to marry an aspiring young politician Colton (Eric Winter). Colton knows people who know people, and promises that should the two pot-smoking biddies have any trouble he’d be their man. Harold and Kumar decide to go to Amsterdam as well. On the plane Kumar decides to test his new invention – smokeless pipe. Mistaken for terrorists, Harold and Kumar are taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They manage to escape and, being pursued by TSA agents using all the government resources they’ve got, take a road-trip across the country from Florida to Texas to meet with Colton and have their names cleared. But Kumar is more preoccupied with crashing the wedding.
The good: This is basically a road-trip movie about two fellow stoners. They inflict all of their misadventures on themselves because they are not exactly a rational thinkers. Good to finally see some humor about 9-11 and what followed. Hey, Rob Corddry (former member of The Daily Show crew) was in the characters for years now, playing a career TSA senior officer trying to capture our two terrorists while his boss is on “exhilarating ice-fishing trip”. I loved the parody to all the patriotic rhetoric (”Do you want to rape and murder Freedom?”) that was designed to subdue all the descent. There’s a lot of points made about government incompetence, although, to balance it out, there were some thinkers in the organization. Pert of the satire in the movie was about careerists and opportunists in the government ignoring the intelligent voices and twisting the truth and facts in their favor. There was an indictment of the whole Guantanamo Bay thing, including use of torture (”we don’t torture – that’s CIA crap”) and holding people indefinitely without trial, but creators also had some characters who might indeed have been terrorists and/or just America-haters who spoke in support of terrorism as the only way to oppose the empire. Then again, most of their talk was “crazy talk”, so they are not given any credibility. I’d have to say that for every point that might have been offencive to a certain group, there was a counter point to balance it out. The story is pretty much unpredictable (except for one sequence when the two were admiring an elk that came to them out of Alabama forest – I knew that there’s going to be a hunter somewhere. Why? Because there was so much talk about gun ownership and hunting during Obama-Clinton debates invoking Alabama as one of the examples. “People…cling to their guns”) as you’d expect from a movie about stoners. Unexpected was interior of a redneck house. Most unexpected was the two sharing a smoke with… Dubya! Somewhat expected was the encounter with KKK in Alabama. The appearance of Neil Patrick Harris (Murder, She Wrote, Starship Troopers, The Proposition, Son Of The Beach, Spiderman, Numb3rs etc.) as himself gobbling hallucinogenic mushrooms was hilarious up to the point that he… we’ll I don’t want to spoil it.
Do you want to rape and murder this country? Do you want to rape and murder Freedom?
[Sobbing] Some day you’ll find love… – With you? – No! We are whores.
…kick you back to Iran. – I’m Indian. – Whatever, Chief.
The bad: The movie begins with a classical fart joke. There are countless sequences of urination and rivers of bodily fluids. A lot more smoking and swearing in this movie. Too much gross-out humor.
The summary: A pretty good road-trip comedy movie that plays on stereotypes and racism, with rather unpredictable story twists, if you don’t mind nudity and bodily fluids throughout the movie.
The cast: Harold Lee – John Cho | Kumar Patel – Kal Penn | Ron Fox – Rob Corddry | Deputy Frye – Jack Conley | Neil Patrick Harris – Neil Patrick Harris | Vanessa – Danneel Harris | Colton – Eric Winter | Maria – Paula Garcés | Raymus – Jon Reep | George W. Bush – James Adomian
The credits: Directors – Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg | Writers – Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg | Original Music – George S. Clinton | Cinematography – Daryn Okada | New Line Cinema | Mandate Pictures | Kingsgate Films
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