Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Review
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Harold Lee and Kumar Patel (John Cho and Kal Penn) are once again hitting the road in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. But after this so-so sequel to 2004’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, I wouldn’t mind all that much if the two decided just to chill at home from here on out.

Though the sequel comes four years after the dope-smoking duo made a break for White Castle, it picks up right where the first movie left off. While on a plane to Amsterdam, careless Kumar lights up his new invention—a smokeless bong—and he and Harold are arrested as terrorists. After a run-in with an overzealous NSA agent, they’re shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, where all kinds of horrors await them.

Luckily, they manage to escape from Gitmo, but they’re still wanted men. So the two set off to Texas, hoping that Colton (Eric Winter), their well-connected friend—who just happens to be marrying Kumar’s ex, Vanessa (Danneel Harris)—can clear their name. And if Kumar can break up the wedding and get Vanessa back at the same time, even better.

  
 
Plotwise, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is almost exactly the same as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Though the situations along the way are different, it’s basically a road trip movie about a couple of guys trying (mostly in vain) to get somewhere. Last time, it was White Castle. This time, it’s Texas. And instead of rabid raccoons and the “extreme” guys and Neil Patrick Harris, they meet up with inbred rednecks and the KKK and…Neil Patrick Harris. Generally, though, the formula works. It’s like a sketch-comedy show built around one simple, overarching storyline.

But what really matters here isn’t the story—it’s the humor. As it was in White Castle, the humor in Guantanamo Bay is the lowest of the lowbrow. If you think poop is funny, you’re sure to think Guantanamo Bay is hilarious. The same goes for drug use, racism, and nudity. The jokes are as sophomoric as possible—though I’ll admit that that’s not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes, the jokes are really funny. At other times, though, they’re disgusting or offensive or just plain dumb.

For me, the highlight is Cho’s Harold, the level-headed half of the pair, who only gets funnier the more he mopes and gripes. All he wants is a good job and a good woman—but Kumar’s antics keep messing everything up. I often found myself sharing in Harold’s frustration with Penn’s Kumar—who started to get on my nerves after only a few minutes. But maybe that just means that I’m too stuffy (and sober) to really appreciate him.

As far as stoner comedies go, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay isn’t bad—but it’s not great, either. The humor is outrageous and often offensive, and the jokes are hit-or-miss. If you enjoyed the first Harold & Kumar movie, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll enjoy the sequel almost as much. For the rest of you, though, I recommend opting for a comedy with more smarts and less farts.

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