Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay (Review)

Harold and Kumar gained a tiny amount of publicity because the two titular leads are of non-Caucasian descent, not because of their pilgrimage to a burger chain restaurant. They got a sequel because the first film was funny and not mean spirited, and because the two leads Kal Penn and John Cho are so effortlessly likable and share strong chemistry.

H & K 2 is not as fresh or amusing as the first film, and it reaches a little much in trying to bring something new and R rated to the table – everyone is searching for their own MILF type idea – but it is worth a look all the same.

Picking up immediately after the first film left off as the lads prep for their trip to Amsterdam to chase down Harold’s ‘elevator-action’ buddy Maria, the film wastes no time in reminding us of the tone of the first. The first 3 or 4 minutes are built around a diarrhea joke and a masturbation joke inclusive of an unwanted money shot…

Once the film proper starts it is just a case of hijinks aplenty for our American friends, as the film finds them;

Being waylaid on their way to Amsterdam thanks to a drug related mishap.

Before;

Being incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay as suspected terrorists, where they avoid physical and sexual torture by immediately escaping. (Seriously, while the film informs us that they will be escaping the prison, you might have expected that this part of the plot might warrant more than 5 minutes of screen time. It doesn’t.)

Then;

Trying to break up the impending wedding of Kumar’s ex to a wealthy, powerful and privileged young man who seems ‘too ideal’ for her.

While;

On the run from the continued dogged pursuit of the FBI, primarily Agent Ron Fox (Rob Corddry), who is the one guy in America who is clearly incapable of seeing the facts.

Then;

Enjoying some Southern hospitality in all of its forms while once again in the esteemed – and constantly intoxicated – Doogie Howser MD aka Neil Patrick Harris (the ‘P’ stands for Poon-handler!).

Before they;

Run into a recently retired President of the United States, who helps them get high and resolve the entire misunderstanding in 5 minutes flat, and to think he is not remembered fondly by some folks.

Harold and Kumar 2 is almost as enjoyable as the first film, though it has to try harder to entertain and misses the mark a couple more times than the original. Many of the jokes are recycled from the first movie – some work, some… and it uses every stereotype in the book as fodder for its humour, somehow deciding that as it boasts two Asian-Americans on the cover (India is part of Asia!) that this is somehow its exclusive right to do so.

I doubted that I would enjoy the sequel as I was so surprised to find value in the original to begin with – and in truth it isn’t as good a film. But in keeping with my rating scale I must say that it is indeed a film with a few notable moments, and as such warrants a ‘pretty good’ 6.5 score.

Also I can’t go without mentioning the strangely decent soundtrack. Same as the original the film contains many songs -none of which I have heard before – and while none of them cause me to google them for more info, none of them make me cringe and recall just how out of touch with modern music I am. That doesn’t happen too often these days, especially with a film so obviously not aimed at my demographic as this one.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Harold and Kumar continue on their smutty, nudity filled profane and oddly enjoyable adventures. The rules state that this series will rapidly become a lame comparison of the original, for now they have avoided the jinx.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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