The Movie Buffer

Monday, August 11, 2008

DVD Review: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay


I needed Spoilers 'cause I had none..


After Harold and Kumar finally get to White Castle, eat their burgers and each have epiphanies, they segue into a trip to Amsterdam in order to follow Harold’s love interest, Maria, and smoke a ton of legal weed (Of course).

The films are separated by 4 years but the events of each flow together uninterrupted. What the viewer felt as a couple of years was, in movie time, just a couple of hours. They wash up after a long night of extreme mayhem and just keep on trucking.  

John Cho and Kal Penn play the eponymous Harold and Kumar, respectively. These characters seem to be within the comfort zone of the actors so, there is very little change in this film from the first. The plot does allow for more development of Kumar, who was left rather hollow. New comer, Danneel Harris (from One Tree Hill) plays Kumar’s ex girlfriend/soulmate, Vanessa, who has reformed from her pot-smoking ways to become the fiancée of an up and coming young Republican, Colton Graham. Upon learning of the wedding, Kumar realizes that he can’t lose Vanessa to such a “douche-bag” so, wedding crashing becomes the secondary mission.

The jokes start up pretty fast and furious with one about shit and another about pubes. There are plenty of nods back to the first film that were rather superfluous, but, as always, if you hadn’t seen the first one you wouldn’t notice. Like the first film there are a plenty of raunchy jokes and being a sequel the writers jacked it up with even more offensive racial jokes. But these jokes never tread too deeply into the hate-mongering side of the stereotypes.  

I intentionally skipped this film in theaters because I knew an “unrated and uncut” version would arise at some point, loaded with several new scenes and more dialog. Unfortunately, most of the new dialog is just over-dubbed on the original cut so, it sounds pretty cheesy. I would have liked them to pay a little more attention to their production rather than add a few extra lines.

"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" had a certain charm that was lacking in this installment. Though the antics were pretty much the same, "White Castle" always held a grain of realism so they could ground the story, but "Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is much more fantastical it doesn’t draw the viewer or make a lick of sense if you think about it. Nevertheless, I liked the characters, the continuation of the story and the final conclusion so, I would recommend this film.


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