Written and Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Roger Bart and Neil Patrick Harris
Going to White Castle need not be a particularly challenging endeavor. For Harold & Kumar (John Cho & Kal Penn), two perpetual stoner best friends, it proved to be the most monumental of achievements. Still, no matter how difficult the terrain became en route toward 30 burgers, four large fries and countless free refills of soda, they never lost hope. They overcame ignorance, confidence issues and Neil Patrick Harris to get what they most desired and solidified an already rock solid friendship in the process. Picking up at exactly the same point HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE left off, HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY finds the boys packing their bags for a spur of the moment trip to Amsterdam and the jokes about perfect pubic hair and messy bowel movements follow suit. Nothing has changed essentially (except for perhaps Kumar, who looks as though all that burger weight went instantaneously to his face), but it feels somehow different. Somewhere within the first few frames, maybe when Kumar ejaculated on to his face, I don’t know, the high times come crashing down into a sobering and painfully unfunny trip.
Do you know what else works about two stoners determined to reach a burger joint destination? It’s plausible. It’s two ordinary guys in an even more ordinary situation that must surmount a series of extraordinary obstacles. The fact that they’re stoned the whole time only adds to the ridiculousness of it all, especially if you’re also stoned at home watching. Although I have yet to test the theory, I’m fairly certain watching Harold & Kumar’s second caper high might make the whole mess that much more tedious. And while I’m on the subject, where was the weed in this movie? Sure it isn’t all that likely that they would be able to find weed in Guantanamo Bay but scoring would be no less believable than their being there in the first place. Now we have a stoner movie where no one is getting stoned. What we’re left with instead is a dulled teen raunch movie designed for the mind of the adolescent male, the one at the back of the class sketching boobs and penises because he isn’t getting any action with either, when he should be paying closer attention to the history lesson being given.
I resigned myself to my fate when the expected groans grew from the groins of all the teenage boys in the audience at the thought of Harold & Kumar having to eat a cock-meat sandwich while in prison. If you’re wondering what kind of delicacy this sandwich might be, don’t. The name is self-explanatory. Naturally, the boys attempt an escape from Guantanamo rather than bite the sandwich, risking an almost certain death in the process. My hat is off to you for proving yet again what the obvious choice is between homosexual experimentation and death. With that, the gays are the first to be insulted by this horrifically ignorant film. While the film tries to expose the American population’s generalized views of minorities, it does so in such a ludicrous fashion that it actually reverses upon itself. Tempting Jews with loose change or making a black man in street wear a credible witness by arguing that he is actually an orthodontist are examples of the writers asking us to laugh at and not with the characters. Seeing as how the jokes are dead long before the punch arrives, the audience is given a lot of time to think about just how unfunny a Korean guy and an Indian guy in Klu Klux Klan garb actually is.
Two hours and I think I only laughed once (Thank you, NPH!). Harold & Kumar themselves barely seem to like each other so seeing as how they’re not having any fun, it sure isn’t easy for us to have any. Stepping up their game from just writing last time out to both writing and directing this time around proves to be too much at once for Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. Their script is aimless and rehashes a lot of the same shtick from the first film. Their style is … well, they don’t actually have one. The cult love Harold & Kumar found in the years since its initial release has gone directly to their heads and now they seem to live in this delusion that no effort is necessary and that they just have to show up to get the same results. Hmm, deluded, aimless and only funny to the guys telling the jokes, I guess it is a great stoner movie after all.