High On Laughs

by Ian T. McFarland on April 25, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
  • IMDB: link


A movie as blissfully non-sensical as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle isn’t the easiest act to follow up.  With random events like a raccoon attack, a cheetah ride and, what must be one of the greatest all-time film cameos, Neil Patrick Harris; White Castle was not just random but also one of the few comedies that is consistently funny.  Is it possible that a sequel could be just as random, clever and hilarious?  Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is proof that yes, yes it is possible.

No one saw the first Harold & Kumar for its plot, and there’s not much of a reason to see the second one for its story either.  But the set-up for Guantanamo Bay goes like this: our heroes are flying to Amsterdam for pot and poon when the ever wise Kumar, too eager to wait a few more hours, decides to light up on the plane.  But when a passenger mistakes his bong for a bomb, Kumar and Roldy are sent to the controversial prison named in the film’s title as terrorists.  But despite what said title may infer, the two are only incarcerated for a few minutes before they miraculously escape and set out on a journey to have their names cleared.

There’s also a government official charged with tracking down the duo played by Rob Corddry.  I had yet to see Corddry be anything but annoying outside of The Daily Show, but he changes that as the stereotypical, zealous and ignorant American.  He totally destroys the post-9/11 reputation that Bush has crafted for America, going beyond just being funny and bordering on being satirical.

The comic fodder is just as you might expect after seeing the first one – mostly low-brow but still funny nevertheless.  There’s poop, semen and pubic hair – and even the most mature of audience members are going to end up laughing at it all.  But, at the same time, scribes/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg manage to give us a film that fearlessly tears up racial prejudices.  These guys love to play with stereotypes, like the massive, furious-looking black man who plays basketball and looks like he would be at home on any defensive line in the NFL, but ends up being an orthodontist who reports an abandoned vehicle.  In a post-Borat world, the commentary isn’t as scathing as it could have been just a few years earlier; but it’s still a funny ploy that gives the movie an edge of social mindedness.

Guantanamo Bay is just as funny as it needs to be, and nothing more.  It’s not to imply that it’s severely lacking in any area – but it lives up to the first one and, satisfied, then calls it a movie.  It’s still enough to satisfy fans of the first film, and will even leave newcomers to the series hoping for a third Harold and Kumar adventure.

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