"Harold and Kumar: Escape from
Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
Written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry and Neil Patrick
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 4/27/08
Full disclosure--I thought that
"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" was only okay, but that's
because at times, its sight gags, toilet humor and wall-to-wall
racism were really funny, and at other times, they COMPLETELY miss
the mark on the jokes. But, even I would admit that Neil
Patrick Harris was pretty funny in the first film, and the bag of
weed dream sequence was the hardest I laughed at anything in 2004.
The idea to make a sequel for this film
seems a little odd, since the first film has its place firmly set in
pop culture lore and no one was clamoring for another run. A
better statement on where this is: even now, four years later,
neither of the first film's main leads are mainstream stars yet, and
they don't appear quite ready for the big time...if the first film
was so good, why didn't John Cho or Kal Penn do more than appear as
bit actors on already-popular TV shows and small-bit movies?
"Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo
Bay" can best be described as a road picture (much like the last
film, except it takes the duo from Jersey to prison to Florida to
Texas) with even more blatantly wrong racist comedy and sex/toilet
jokes than the last film. Our men Harold (Cho) and Kumar
(Penn) are back, and as this is supposed to take place literally
right after the end of the first film, things haven't changed a bit.
In trying to outrace feds who are convinced that the twosome are
terrorists following some illegal weed activity on a flight to
Amsterdam, Kumar is able to also track down his former girlfriend (Danneel
Harris, an awful first name if ever there was one) and try to wiggle
his way back into her life after they broke up two years ago.
And of course, we get a random Neil Patrick
This sequel is better than I thought it
would be, a sentiment shared by your friend and mine, MISTER Gordon
Stokes. There are a surprisingly high number of barrel laughs
(if wrong black, Jew, Indian and Asian jokes are your thing) and
nasty-but-I'm-laughing sex jokes, and trust me, someone you know
will randomly say the phrase "cock-meat sandwich" sometime
soon...just trust me, it's funny. The first hour of "Guantanamo
Bay" is good stuff, occasionally hilarious, but generally amusing
throughout. Cho and Penn still have the same great chemistry
they had in the first film, and their rollicking adventure stays
fresh, at least early on.
But, NPH's sighting and the film's final 20
minutes are a real letdown; some of this is that Harris's part is
not as strong this go-round, but the inevitable romantic angle is
not played well in this film, and then we get a silly final ten
minutes that will make fans of the first film openly gag with
disapproval. Luckily, the first half carryover is strong
enough to make you forget that end business when you leave the
theater, and for good reason--you get the other types of humor
mentioned above, plus random bits on "bottomless" parties, dumb
feds, George W. Bush, in-bred caged one-eyed children, and life as a
In other words, spend $7 to see this one
rainy afternoon, if you can stomach nasty afro-pubic hair jokes.
No, I'm not kidding.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard