Escape From Guantanamo Bay
wouldn’t think to look to your typical stoner comedy
for real social commentary, but for those of you who like
a little thought with your guffaws, Harold & Kumar
Escape from Guantanamo Bay may be the right mix for
place only mintues after the end of the first movie, this
sequel to the cult classicHarold & Kumar go to White
Castle is a fun romp of a road movie with a lot of
much needed societal lambasting. It’s also got everything
else you want in an R rated stoner flick: drugs, nudity
and Neil Patrick Harris.
& Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (or H&K2)
reunites middle class stoners Harold (The soon to be Sulu,
John Cho) and Kumar (The college professor, huh, Kal Penn)
as they decide to chase after Harold’s recently realized
sweetheart, Maria (The unquestionably hot Paula Garcés)
who was on a path to stoner Shangri-La, Amsterdam. Unfortunately,
this pair of bosom buddies can’t get any trip right
and after a paranoid geriatric passenger on a plane rats
them out as terrorists, our heroes get sent to the pokey.
here they meet Agent Ron Fox (Semi-Pro’s
Rob Corddry) from the Department of Homeland security. Fox
is a dimwit who surmises that the Korean Harold and the
Indian Kumar are actually, “North Koreans and Al Qaeda,
So like any other terroris…er…
enemy combatants, he sends them to Guantanamo Bay. Its here
where our heroes find themselves in yet another fine mess
they need to get out of and the heat is on.
you really need to know after that is that H&K2
is a fine sequel to the first film and, in the tradition
of some of the best eighties comedies, continues the travels
of a couple of watchable losers who make us laugh. The first
H&K was a farcical frolic that bordered on
being a cartoon. This sequel, however, moves into as much
as a cartoon mode as it can without being animated by Disney.
It’s hilarious and over the top and to the untrained
eye, it’s as dumb as it is funny.
what most might miss is the fact that like it’s predecessor,
H&K2 is a smart and playful commentary on social
roles in America. In the first film, Harold and Kumar were
two characters who, on first glance, were to be played as
stereotypes for comic relief. They weren’t the normal
white guys going on a road trip, or the black guys throwing
a house party, they were a Korean guy and an Indian dude
about to get some White Castle Burgers. But more than that,
it was just a guy and his friend, going on an adventure.
It didn’t matter what race they were, and that was
film, more attention (some subtle, some obvious) is given
to the different racial tendencies we Americans have. It
points out stereotypes that some people still live by today
and then shatters them, in a more realistic and much needed
way. All the major ethnic and social groups are covered
here, and the preconceptions that usually follow them around
are skewered and slain.
of course is a testament to writers/directors Jon Hurwitz
and Hayden Schlossberg's fun and witty script that not only
means to entertain but to make people aware that certain
types of people may not be what they seem.
example, Agent Fox is a way over the top caricature of a
government official and is leading the investigation into
H&K’s terrorist accusations. Now if you were not
hip to the spirit of the H&K movies, you might
find yourself terribly offended by Agent Fox’s interrogations.
They’re ignorant, they’re extremely racist,
and completely wrong and wouldn’t exist in the real
world, but it’s under the guise of Fox’s character
that the writers can make the best points.
post 9-11 world, people’s conceptions of the government,
of foreigners, and even of each other have changed, and
it’s subtly illustrated here. However, by pointing
out and exaggerating these misconceptions to the tenth degree,
Hurwitz and Schlossberg, reveal just how silly misjudging
someone might actually be.
& Kumar 2 follows the same formula of the first
film pretty much; however it provides a stronger plot rationale.
The plot for H&K 2 is preposterous, yet it’s
the perfect vehicle for the story it wants to tell, all
the while taking subliminal pot shots at all that is wrong
with racism. Cho is strong as the straight man to Penn’s
troublesome sidekick and their chemistry is believable and
real. There are also plenty of call backs to the first film
to satisfy the loyal Harold and Kumar fans, as well as a
lot of fun, new, raunchy laughs. Just be sure to stay after
the credits for one last humongous laugh.
any more of the film, would really give up too much of the
fun parts of the story, but for fans of the franchise, this
movie will satisfy. Non-fans may find some of the call back
jokes confusing, but should have no problem enjoying this
movie on its own. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo
Bay is a fine achievement and addition to the Harold
and Kumar mythology. It’s hysterical and laugh out
loud funny, and will definitely satisfy your comedy munchies.