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As a fan of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, I really didn't think
they could recapture the magic of the first film in the sequel. Sequels
are, so often, horrible disappointments. But the World Premiere of
Harold & Kumar Escape from Gauntanamo Bay last night as Austin's SXSW
Film Festival was simply awesome. The audience loved America's favorite
slackers on their next adventure as their trip to Amsterdam goes
Whereas the first film challenged racism and stereotyping, this one continued the theme into issues of racial profiling and War on Terror paranoia. These multicultural slackers are becoming American every-men that we can all relate to. While there are times when Harold & Kumar's antics are just plain silly, they are also incredible human characters who are struggling with real challenges around parents, romance, friendship, the law, and race. Harold & Kumar make us laugh while they also challenge our perceptions and expectations of social and political reality.
Cho and Penn were wonderful reprising their original roles. Neal Patrick Harris was back again as a strange variant of himself. Rod Corddry provides a wonderful addition to the cast as the completely paranoid government agent. Overall, the film is perhaps a tad below the original, but a tad below excellent is still a wonderful comic romp that all fans of the original and many new fans should enjoy. Unlike the first film which gained a cult following on DVD, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guatanamo Bay will undoubtedly be a huge hit in the theaters. The audience here in Austin absolutely loved the two lovable anti-heroes. I look forward to many more adventures from Harold and Kumar.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am getting so addicted to Harold and Kumar's crazy adventures, it's
just pathetic, when I saw Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, I was
hooked and bought the movie the next day. So obviously I was so excited
to see Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, saw it opening day
and it's non stop laughs still! Now, I do hate gross humor, it's
disgusting and unoriginal, yet, somehow, Harold and Kumar make it so
unbelievably funny. They're back and this time they are taking the
world by storm! Kal Penn and John Cho are such a great pair and made
this sequel so much fun to watch. I agree, it does get offensive at
times, but if you don't take this movie seriously, I think you'll be
laughing too. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is one of the
funniest movies I have seen this year in the theater.
Harold and Kumar are on their way to Amsterdam to visit Harold's love, Maria, but of course, Kumar just can't wait until they get to Amsterdam, so he smokes on a plane, but everyone mistakes the bong for a bomb and Harold and Kumar get thrown into Guantanamo Bay. When they have the chance, they take it. When they finally arrive back in America, they got to meet Kumar's ex girlfriend's fiancée who could pull some strings to get their charges clear, but the way to Texas is a long road and they have to face some interesting obstacles.
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was so much fun to watch, I loved this sequel, the cast looked like they had the ultimate blast making this film. The scenes that got huge laughs from me was when the FBI agent offers grape soda to a guy to get information about where Harold and Kumar were, and some guy in the back round says "How about some Kool Aid?!", also the scene with the return of the weed bag with Kumar and his ex girlfriend was so weird, that it was actually funny. If you loved Harold & Kumar go to White Castle, you'll love Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, it's a comedy not to miss.
Oh my god, I still don't know what hit me. I have been a big fan of the
first part but this one is a different league guys. Not a single boring
moment, very nice editing. And our favorite characters have done it
again. They didn't leave a single stereotype and ignorance untouched in
Trust me it will not be fair to compare the White Castle part with this one, as this is just a different experience no less than a roller coaster ride of genuine comedy. This movie has taken what it did in the first one, to the next but different level. To point out, as pretty clear from the uncensored trailers, it was awesome to see NPH and G "Dubya" Bush. Cho and Penn are just non-stop fun and have some really hot girl friends. From Ta-Ta's of girls to bottom less parties, nothing felt out of place. We also get to know allot about H&K's past.
It deserves a standing ovation and that's what it got from the audience in the theater. Oh man, I am so getting this on DVD when the extended unrated version comes out.
If you enjoyed Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and have any
reservations about the sequel, fear not. Harold & Kumar Escape from
Guantanamo Bay may not be quite the same as its predecessor, but it
brings enough of the story mechanics back and the stoner humor that
made it a cult success. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg,
also serving as directors this time around, have upped the ante like
the sequel cliché goes. There is more nudity, (with a bottomless party,
how could there not?), a lot more swearing, and just plain old
vulgarities every single second. As for the premise's blatant sending
up of racial stereotypes and epithets, even those get a shot of
adrenaline going from the city streets of Alabama, a KKK kegger, and
the bigoted government officials unable to decipher the weird Chinese
dialect, called English, spoken by Harold's parents. It definitely
isn't pretty, bodily fluids flow freely, but the laughs never cease.
When your goal is to bring the funny and there are times in the theatre
when one can't hear the next line because of uproarious laughter, you
know success is yours.
The beauty of this film is the amount of fun you know these guys are having. To get all the principals back for a second go round of a film that did no bank at the box office is quite the feat. Sure DVD sales and internet buzz was huge for the original, but did anyone ever think the boys would actually get to Amsterdam on the big screen? I know I didn't have that much faith. People could badmouth this effort very easily for many reasons, most obvious is the fact that it is pretty much the exact same film as the first. Yet, there were very few instances where I wasn't laughing let alone smiling at the proceedings. When else can you see a nod to the classics like The Goonies done so well? My biggest concern going in was with the war on terrorism satire that the trailers tried so hard to get across. When you put in an actor to play someone like George W. Bush, it can backfire and go completely awry. Surprisingly, though, that scene, amongst others, is actually pretty well done. The ineptitude of the American government is portrayed oftenand actor Rob Corddry is the worst part of the film spearheading that aspect; I just don't like his schtickyet there is always someone there to play the other side (Roger Bart) and show that while they know there are mistakes, they aren't a bunch of buffoons going around willy-nilly. If nothing else this film should be credited for finally having the guts to poke fun at the tragedy of 9-11. It's been so long and I think that humor is necessary for any sort of healing process. To have the fortitude to do the airplane scene with Kumar laughing in his Taliban garb motioning a crashing airport is not something to tread with lightly. Hurwitz and Schlossberg decided to go pedal to the metal with this film and they never make a compromise, kudos to them for that.
The film begins right where the first left off and everyone is still in the same frame of mind. To add a little spice to the mix, we do get introduced to a new character, Vanessa, an old flame of Kumar's. Being that she is about to marry an aspiring politician, the inclusion not only plays into the need of a love interest, (Maria is still in Amsterdam, and of course we all know the boys don't make it off the plane to see her), but also into the ability to bring the government in through his connections. Being on the cusp of even having the President attend his wedding, who better to go to for help in absolving their terrorist accusations? Vanessa is well played by the attractive Danneel Harris in a role that doesn't get much screen time. She is, however, involved in probably my favorite scene of the filma flashback on how she meets Kumar and shows him the world of narcotics. It is a fantastic sequence helping to align his brains with the lifestyle he has begun to live in and there is a brilliant cameo by Harold that brought the house down.
Of course the movie would be nothing without John Cho and Kal Penn, the titular characters respectively. Their rapport is fully intact and the shenanigans they get into are the impetus of the story. It's a shame that Cho is in practically nothing and Penn has been relegated to roles without lines (Superman Returns) and television ("24" and "House") because they could do so much better (as evidenced with The Namesake). This is their film and they do not disappoint, right until the end credits. There are a lot of cameos here as well, mostly from people that we saw in the original. Playing themselves in either stereotypical ways or as the butt of a racial joke, it's good to see them have a sense of humor. If only everyone in real life could have that attitude they wouldn't be cultivating racism by the sheer fact they accuse everyone of it. While that is probably another discussion for another time, at least this broad comedy has enough cultural value to realize it and put it into the minds of college kids for whom the film targets.
Oh, and did I mention Neil Patrick Harris? No? Well that must be because he is so brilliant words can't even describe. What a conclusion to his arc, just fantastic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on the 7.4 IMDb rating, I went to a theater tonight to see this latest H&K flick. White Castle was appealing. This one seems to be an attempt to compete with the lousiest movies of recent years. Any smatterings of funniness are overwhelmed by the unnecessary raunchiness and absolute war on political correctness. There's a way to subtly insert non-PC stuff that maintains the entertainment level. White Castle had that. This story's framework had the potential to become a much funnier and nicer-spirited script. One character is so over-the-top and offensive (even for this film) that he seems to have jumped in from a different movie set. Why the two leads would agree to be in this product is beyond me. I walked out after a half hour. Ten bucks (literally) down the toilet. Now I see that it's up to a 7.6! Are the almost 7500 votes exclusively from 15 year-old boys?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first Harold and Kumar wasn't a financial hit on its initial
release, but became somewhat of a cult-classic on DVD. Yes, stoner
comedies are far too many and often unfunny, but Harold and Kumar
succeeded where most failed. The jokes were fresh and original, there
was barely even a plot (which was part of the appeal) and it starred
two ethnic minorities, which is a rarity for film these days. It's no
wonder that a sequel has been released; the only surprise is how much
this new Harold and Kumar film misses the mark.
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay picks up immediately after the predecessors end, with the two stoner buddies heading on a plane to Amsterdam. However, Kumar's bong is mistaken for an explosive mid-flight and the two buddies are arrested under suspicion of being terrorists. Despite their best efforts, the duo are sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they end up breaking out and going on a road-trip of sorts across America, evading the authorities.
I don't mind crude humor in comedies. Vulgarity can be funny in certain jokes. However, when the joke is the vulgarity itself, well, that's not funny. Penises, semen, flatulence, urine and excrement can be funny in jokes, but in itself are not funny. There's nothing comical about Kumar masturbating and spraying semen over himself, nor is there anything funny about Kumar's friend revealing his pubic hair entrenched penis. This is below low-brow humor; it's the type of jokes that a 12-year old who just hit puberty would come up with if asked to write a movie. In the first Harold and Kumar, there were plenty of funny jokes and almost none of them were vulgar. In this installment, there's lots of vulgarity, but there aren't even many jokes. Just crudeness for the sake of being crude.
The rest of the jokes pretty much consist of the antagonist making stereotypes about African-Americans, Arabs and Jewish people. Once again, I don't mind jokes involving stereotypes, but simply having a man suggest Jewish people can't resist picking up pennies or blacks love grape soda isn't funny. It's the type of humor that might make a kid below the age of 10 laugh, but no one any older, unless they are indeed stoned. There's no substance to it. There's nothing remotely clever about it or even funny in a stupid way, just stereotypes acted out on the big screen. The movie is painfully unfunny, which is a shame because there's some decent talent behind it. John Cho has a certain charm to him as Harold and Kal Penn, although slightly annoying, has proved himself funny in the previous installment. You get the feeling that with better writing, the duo really could have delivered a hilarious film.
But even the films complete ineptitude in the laughs department isn't its biggest fault. The most aggravating thing about Harold and Kumar 2 is how this low-brow, schlocky comedy tries to make it appear as if there's some political message behind it or it had anything important to say. It seems to have worked, because it currently holds a 54% at Rottentomatoes (meaning more than half of critics liked it) and most of these positive reviews mention the political undertones. Simply put, this movie has nothing to say. Sure, George Bush is in it. That doesn't mean it has anything thoughtful to say about the Bush administration. He smokes pot and acts stupid. If there is any political message behind the film, it's nothing any deeper than Bush is stupid.
And frankly, that pisses me off. Not because I like Bush (to the contrary actually), but because the movie takes no risks. Bush-jokes have become so common and so over-done. This movie bills itself as offensive. Making fun of George Bush is possibly the least offensive thing you could do these days. Everyone has done it. Same goes for implying that America is racist. If there is something offensive about Harold and Kumar 2, it's that it plays it safe. There's nothing remotely risky about any of it. Why not take a different slant and say that the American Government really isn't racist? That minorities are overly sensitive about issues such as searching people at customs? How about saying that often stereotypes can be true, and that if a 6-foot tall, African-American man dressed like a gangster and holding a lead pipe comes at you during the night, he is probably trouble and not a good Samaritan trying to help you (which happens in the movie by the way)? It's not that the film goes contrary to my point of view. It's that it tries to appear offensive and politically incorrect, when really it isn't any more offensive than an Ashton Kutcher rom-com.
That's what really sinks Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Not that it isn't funny, but that it has nothing to say, and doesn't take risks. The reason that South Park can be appreciated, even when certain episodes are unfunny, is because the creators aren't afraid to voice their minds. They go against the grain, often against my own opinions, as well as the majority of the publics, and you have to respect them for that. All that can be said for Harold and Kumar 2 is that the creators try to be as appealing and un-PC as possible, while appearing they're not.
First let me say this movie was hilarious. Definitely a stoner movie, and as funny as the first. Actually, it may be funnier. Like most sequels they don't usually top the first one, and in most cases rehash the same old jokes. The story beings hours after their "White Castle" gorging ("Prepare to gorge yourself"),and after mistaking a "bong" for a "bomb", on their way to Amsterdam, Harold & Kumar are sent to Guantanmo Bay, and a chain reaction of foolishness and tomfoolery ensues. Lots of cameo's in this one, so you movie lovers keep an eye out. See if you can spot Freakshow from "White Castle" in a completely reversed role. If you're a fan of the first one, you will absolutely love "Guantanamo Bay." Go Roldy!! Go Kumi!!
I saw this movie on Saturday and laughed aloud throughout.
This movie is not for everyone. There is nudity as well as drug and bodily function humor; however, it is definitely funny. Unlike most drug-themed movies, Harold and Kumar doesn't show the boys as being a couple of baked idiots, but as an intelligent sensitive individual paired with a baked idiot. Much like Bruce Willis' Blind Date, it only takes one person with absolutely no impulse control to make your life hell. As they said in Star Wars, however, there is another.
Neil Patrick Harris, after a cameo in the first movie, plays the same character only much further off the deep end than before. He is a mushroom-gobbling, whore-branding sociopath who makes Kumar look like an ivy league professor.
I must warn those who have seen the first movie. There are no cheetahs.
I am sorry...
Kal Penn has done it again. The premise was set perfectly and the movie took us through the different oddities about the paranoid and mad ways of American reactions to war against terror. These two gentlemen are put behind bars and sent of Guantanama Bay. The journey begins there and its a fun ride ahead. The movie apart from being rip roaring funny, also brings out lot of mistaken or rather true clichés of American society. Be it geographical ethnic or even racist. The sensitive subjects are treated pretty nicely. I should say hilariously too. The expression Kal Penn brings about for different situations are perfect and fits the scenes very well. Trust me he's got a funny looking face.
I loved the first one, and couldn't wait to see the next one. Most of its humor is either racial, sexual, or drug-related, so if you aren't into that, steer clear of this one. If you can appreciate that type of humor you will be laughing throughout the entire movie. It is also filled with many ridiculous "wtf" funny moments, reminiscent of the cheetah scene from the last movie. The movie itself isn't offensive, but a lot of the characters are, and Neil Patrick Harris returns once again and really stole the show for me. Some of the jokes are derived from the first movie, so I really recommend seeing the first one before you see this to get acquainted with the characters. So go grab some friends and get ready to laugh, one of the funniest movies of the year!
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