Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (R) ★★½

Review Date: April 25th, 2008

If it's lowbrow raunchy comedy you want, this second Harold & Kumar installment fits the bill. These lovable stoners just grow on you.


Yes, that's right. BFF's Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are indeed endearing in their own pot-smoking, crass, totally inept way--and movie No. 2 continues to prove it. It starts a couple hours after they've successfully completed their White Castle quest, with Harold's vow to follow his lady love to Amsterdam. At the airport, Kumar runs into his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) and is shocked to discover she's about to get married to a guy he considers a real "douche bag." But once they make it onto the plane, all manner of hell breaks loose: Mistaken for terrorists (yes, it does have something to do with marijuana and a bong), the two end up escaping from Guantanamo Bay and embarking on one outrageous misadventure after another to clear their names--and wreck Vanessa's wedding in the process. High times, dude!


It's funny that this week's new movies features two sets of Odd Couples: Baby Mama's Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and the reteaming of Penn and Cho, who simply click on all cylinders as the pot-smoking former college roommates who couldn't be more different yet so connected. Even though you cringe at the ridiculous predicaments they find themselves in, these two guys sell it lock, stock and barrel. Supporting them is Daily Show's Rob Corddry, who overplays it as the hard-ass bigoted Homeland Security agent going after the boys. But it's the weird characters they meet along the way that make the Harold & Kumar movies, including The Office's Ed Helms as an interpreter; Missi Pyle as a forward-thinking Southern hick; and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris, once again playing himself as a debauched, mushroom-taking, unicorn-spotting moron. Harris' appearance in the first Harold & Kumar showed everyone just how funny he is, leading to his hilarious turn in the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother. This just solidifies it.


Writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg probably never thought they'd be back again after their first Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle effort. But here they are, doing it all over again. Maybe it was a fluke the original touched a comical nerve in those Gen-X slackers who made H&K the new Cheech and Chong of the 21st Century, but there's something to be said for a good old-fashioned stoner movie. Unfortunately for Guantanamo Bay, however, Hurwitz and Schlossberg try to outdo themselves by making it even more raunchy (the "bottom-less" party is quite something), more offensive (the mongoloid cycloptic lovechild of hick incestuous parents) and more ridiculous (smoking out with President Bush?) than it should be. That simplicity of the original is lost. But don't worry, Guantanamo Bay isn't a complete wash. You'll still laugh plenty.

Bottom Line

Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.