While it was fun seeing our friends Harold and Kumar again, I think this might be the last we see of them, but at least they get a (semi-)decent send-off.
  • OVERALL
    2.5
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
Great performances from Kal Penn, Rob Corddry and, another hilarious turn from Neil Patrick Harris.
THE BAD
John Cho was surprisingly annoying here, as was the haphazard, cliche-riddled story they threw together that seemed to even rip off the last flick.
THE FEATURE
I'll readily admit that I was quite surprised with how much I was entertained by a flick like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, especially since I'm not a stoner. I think a lot of people were surprised, really and, while it didn't set the world on fire at the box office ($18 million), it gained enough of a following on DVD to ensure a second go-round with this Jersey duo, and, while it is an enjoyable flick, it's not really as enjoyable as the first.

I was surprised right away that they went the Rocky route here, setting this flick essentially right after the first one ended. I hadn't seen the first in years, since... well, since the only time I saw the first one. I don't quite recall if they set this whole thing in motion at the end of the first one, so if they did, my bad, but it surprised me nonetheless. We basically start out with Harold (John Cho) in the shower thinking about his impromptu make-out session with the hot model in their building, Maria (Paula Garces)... only to be interrupted by Kumar bursting in the bathroom to "take the Browns to the Super Bowl," so to speak. From there we learn that they're off to Amsterdam in an hour, which is why I was so surprised they made this the same day as the first one ended. Would it have killed them to wait a week or something? Anyway, after the two are mistaken for terrorists when an old lady sees Kumar's elaborate, bomb-resembling, smokeless bong he invented, they're manhandled by some Air Marshalls and the plane is turned around to remand them into the custody of a dingbat Homeland Security agent named Ron Fox (Rob Corddry) who sends them off to the Army prison at Guantanamo Bay. After they manage to escape, in a hilarious and both logical and illogical chain of events, the duo is off on another journey... only they're seeking to clear their names, instead of tiny Slammers.

We see a lot of the same sorts of situations that Harold and Kumar find themselves in that are similar to the first flick, but it just seems like something is a little off throughout the whole flick. Perhaps it was first-time directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz, who wrote the first film and wrote and directed this sequel. Maybe it's just John Cho, because his performance was the one I was peeved with the most. He's just way way too over the top here and I don't know if it was Schlossberg and Hurwitz's direction, or Cho's performance, but he's just way too quirky here, especially for the straight-laced guy he's supposed to be. Sure, they try to throw this transformation at us with the whole trip, since he takes a whole week off of work but has never even called in sick before, but still.... would he transform THAT much overnight? Maybe it was that they shifted focuses here. The first film was really about Harold's transformation and in this film it's really about Kumar's transformation and while I really loved the stuff that Kal Penn brought to the table as Kumar - including a wonderful flashback scene that shows us how surprisingly anal he was before meeting the two loves of his life: Vanessa (Daneel Harris) and weed, which were brought together on one fateful day in their university library. Oh, yeah. Vanessa comes into play when they see her at the airport with her new beau, a douchebag named Colton Graham (Eric Winter). Kumar and Vanessa broke up a few years ago and now he's getting married to the dude.... and I'm sure you can guess what happens from there. Oh, the Colton dude also has connections with President Bush, who is played quite effectively by James Adomian, and who comes into play in a hilarious way.

We get a new slew of colorful smaller roles, including Jon Reep and Missi Pyle as a redneck/rich couple, Ed Helms as a hilariously inept translator, Beverly D'Angelo in a surprising role as a brothel owner, David Krumholtz and Eddie Kaye Thomas reprising their roles as Goldstein and Rosenberg and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris back as himself. I was both pissed off and overjoyed by seeing Neil Patrick Harris back as this dysfunctional version of himself. I was overjoyed because he is absolutely f&$%ing HILARIOUS once again, and I was annoyed because we really didn't see that much of him. I think we might have even seen more of him in the first one and, if nothing else, we saw him about the same amount. After such a hilarious turn in the first one, you would've thought we'd see more of him here, but nay. They even had him riding a unicorn on one of the one-sheets (which does come into play hilariously as well). I would've loved to see more of him here and, while all of these smaller roles were pretty damn funny, it almost seemed as if they were running interference for this sub-standard story Schlossberg and Hurwitz concocted.

What I really enjoyed about the first one was that it was such a simplistic premise - two stoners trying to get some White Castle - but they threw all sorts of hurdles in their way in such a realistic and just a damn funny manner. Here it either seems that they're borrowing from the first flick too much or just sinking into the sea of clich&#233s. The "random" security check at the airport. The 'let's ruin my old girlfriend's wedding because I'm still in love with her" deal. The crazy backwoods people from the first one, although there is an interesting twist on that, but still... The acting is pretty good in almost every aspect except for Cho's overly-quirky performance. I really enjoyed Penn's performance, and Rob Corddry's horribly incompetent Homeland Security agent and even Peter Bart's smaller role as the intelligent NSA agent who has to serve under the buffoonery of Corddry. Still, they don't really cover up this lame, re-hashed story with little bits of originality sprinkled in.

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is a flick you should check out if you enjoyed the first one. I would even be so bold to say that Neil Patrick Harris' brief but brilliant performance alone would warrant at least one viewing of this. But, with the haphazard way they handled this flick, I can't guarantee you'll like it as much as the first one.
THE EXTRAS
We get nothing here, except both the rated theatrical version and the unrated version, plus a Digital Copy as well. that's it though.
THE VIDEO
The film is presented in the widescreen format, in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
THE AUDIO
The sound is handled through the Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex Surround format.
THE PACKAGE
Nothing too fancy here, since this is just the lowly single-disc edition. The front cover just has a shot of Cho and Penn in their orange jumpsuits behind bars, with a title card in the middle, a tagline below and that "Unrated Edition" disclaimer up top. The back has a collage of Harold, Kumar, the Cyclops and the guy who plays President Bush, with a tiny synopsis to their left, some smaller pics below and the billing block. Pretty standard, these days, for a single-disc release, when there's a bigger multi-disc release as well.
THE FINAL WORD
While it was fun seeing our friends Harold and Kumar again, I think this might be the last we see of them, but at least they get a (semi-)decent send-off.

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