High marks

Posted on 24 Apr 2008 at 4:47pm
By Daniel A. Kusner – Life+Style Editor

Raunchy stoner sequel blazes with sharp political, racist satire

DOOGIE BROTHER: Harris, left, Kumar (Penn, center) and Harold (Cho) end up at Madame Sally’s Foxhole Whorehouse. – Jaimie Trueblood/New Line Cinema



You want to know if the sequel is better than "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle?" Well, I have no idea — never saw it. However, I always heard that it was sharper than any Cheech & Chong fare, and it was frequently compared to "American Pie" but with a multicultural edge.

The sequel apparently picks up only two hours after the last movie ended: Roommates Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are in their apartment after successfully completing their burger quest. The boys are preparing for a trip to Amsterdam so Harold can win the heart of his crush, Maria.

They manage to get through airport security, even after Kumar successfully protests a random search. While on the plane, Kumar tells Harold he smuggled some weed onboard. He also insists on trying out his smokeless bong in the plane’s bathroom. The bong is mistaken for a terrorist bomb, and the boys are arrested.

Rob Corddry, former correspondent for "The Daily Show," plays the Deputy Chief of Homeland Security, a wild-eyed racist fanatic who’s convinced Harold and Kumar represent the terrorist link between North Korean and Al Qaeda. He sends them to Gitmo, where the boys are almost forced to deepthroat "cock-meat sandwiches," served daily by the prison guards, who say they’re not gay since they’re on the receiving end.

Just before Harold and Kumar are about to go down on "Big Bob," another prisoner chomps down on his sandwich, and they manage to escape from Guantanamo Bay.

From there, it’s a pot-laced road movie.

They sail to Miami, but need to get to Hewitt, Texas because that’s where Colton (Eric Winter) is about to marry Kumar’s old flame Vanessa (Danneel Harris). Colton has political connections and could help get them out of this mess.

Along the way, every racist stereotype becomes a punch line: Some of them are just so wrong. A cross-eyed Alabama Klansmen set his robe on fire with his own torch; they meet an inbred Cyclops baby; and instead of watermelon or fried chicken, a Birmingham B-ball squad is disrespected with grape soda.

Back in 2004, Neil Patrick Harris, who plays himself in the stoner comedy, wasn’t publicly out yet (that officially happened in 2006). In "White Castle," the post-Doogie Howser actor was depicted as an arrogant, Ecstasy-tripping pussyhound. Of course, he returns for more.

While escaping the KKK, Harold and Kumar hitch a ride with Harris, who’s tripping balls on psychedelic shrooms. They end up at a Texas whorehouse so Harris — still the arrogant pussyhound — can "get his fuck on." If there’s a three-quel, it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers can bring Harris back into the story.

Since we’re already in the Lone Star State, this post-9/11 comedy eventually lands in Crawford, Texas — where they have some primo ganja that’s laced with cocaine.

From the reviews that are already out there, "Guantanamo Bay" is getting ripped to shreds because it doesn’t surpass its predecessor. However, if you’re a "Harold and Kumar" virgin — and you can stomach toilet humor and offensive racist jokes reflected in the face of minority actors — you might be surprised that a bonehead stoner movie could be so sharp.

HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY
B Directors: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Eric Winter, David Krumholtz and Neil Patrick Harris
Opens April 25 in wide release.
1 hr., 32 min.             R




"Made of Honor," Tom (Patrick Dempsey, pictured)

FREE FLICK ON TUESDAY

Dallas Voice sponsors a free screening of "Made of Honor," in which Tom (Patrick Dempsey), is asked to be his best friend’s principal bridesmaid.

Passes available at Buli Café, 3908 Cedar Springs Rd. 
Screening, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. at AMC NorthPark 15, 8687 N. Central Expy.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 25, 2008.

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