Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

2008, Movie, R, 102 mins

Review

HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY
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Screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg graduate to directing with the sequel to surprise hit HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (2004) and deliver more of the same and then some: Standard-issue stoner humor laced with un-PC jokes about race, sex and Homeland Security.

Korean-American investment banker Harold Lee (John Cho) and his roommate, slacker Kumar Patel (Kal Penn), are en route to an Amsterdam vacation. Harold hopes to connect with longtime crush Maria (Paula Garces), while Kumar, whose sole ambition is to avoid going to medical school, looks forward to smoking some righteous dope. The trip gets off to a bad start when they run into Kumar's ex, Vanessa (Danneel Harris), at the airport with her fiancee, uber-establishment tool Colton (Eric Winter); they're getting married next week in Texas and even expect Dubya (James Adomian) at the wedding. Ouch! But the trip might have been fine had Kumar resisted the urge to try out his self-designed smokeless bong in the airplane bathroom. He didn't, and in the post-9/11 America, "bong" sounds -- and looks -- a lot like "bomb." Next thing they know, Harold and Kumar are in a Guantanamo Bay cell courtesy of over-zealous Deputy Chief of Homeland Security Ron Fox (Rob Corddry), facing sexual abuse by homophobic yahoos in uniform. They escape, hitch a ride to Miami with some Cuban boat people, crash their friend Raza's (Amir Talai) bottomless pool party and strike out for Texas in the hope that Colton will use his connections to get them out the awful mess into which they've blundered.

Hurwitz and Schlossberg's sensibilities are coarse, juvenile, lewd, relentlessly tasteless and sometimes surprisingly perceptive when it comes to the glorious variety of racial stereotyping. The film isn't subtle but it can be funny: Kumar's "who's blacker" face-off with a light-skinned African-American security scanner, the thoroughly Americanized Lee and Patel parents (Clyde Kusatsu, Mary Deese, Errol Sitahal) being tormented by a government interpreter who doesn't understand their dialect – impeccable English, a fantasy ménage-a-trois with giant bag of pot, Neil Patrick Harris gamely reprising the role of "Neil Patrick Harris," pervert extraordinaire. If only the wit weren't overwhelmed by lame jokes about body parts, functions and fluids. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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