Misleading title confuses critic

Alex Bethke

Alex Bethke

Harold and Kumar are back for another chaotic adventure in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, where everything can and will go wrong. Writers of the past and present H&K, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, also take a stab at directing this one. This is their first time directing for both of them. In fact, the H&K movies are the only movies these two have ever been involved with.

H&K 2 picks up right where the first one left off ? literally. It’s the morning after the White Castle feast, and the boys are getting ready to depart for Amsterdam in one hour. While on the plane, Kumar decides he can’t possibly wait a few hours for them to be in legal marijuana heaven and begins toking up in the bathroom. He uses a homemade device that allows him to get high without any smoke. Unfortunately, a woman sees the device and thinks it’s a bomb. It doesn’t really help when Kumar says, “No, no, it’s a bong!”

Everyone still hears the word bomb, and before you know it, H&K are arrested for being terrorists. An overzealous Homeland Security officer (Rob Corddry- Semi-Pro, The Heartbreak Kid) makes the ‘obvious’ presumption that North Korea and Al Qaeda must be working together on this one. The boys are sent to Gitmo, escape, and then try to get to Texas so their friend with some political power can clear their names. Kumar is also trying to stop that same guy from marrying his ex-girlfriend in a sub-plot.

The disappointing thing to me is that the movie is titled ? Escape from Guantanamo Bay, but the actual escape happens in the middle of the film and lasts about 60 seconds. In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle the entire movie was about getting to White Castle. Therefore, the title of this film leads you to believe escaping is the ultimate goal of the movie. It’s not. It’s more about fleeing to Texas or ultimately getting to Amsterdam.

The great thing about the movie is that TV star Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.”) is back as Neil Patrick Harris. An interesting tidbit is that you may think Harris is playing himself, but technically, he is credited as playing a character named Neil Patrick Harris. I could be wrong, but I doubt Harris is actually a horny shroom addict in real life, making Neil from H&K a fictional character.

Neil adds some excitement to the movie by hallucinating that there are unicorns everywhere and bringing the boys to a whorehouse. The roles get reversed in the sequel slightly as H&K steal Neil’s car this time.

Harold and Kumar are played once again by John Cho (West 32nd, American Pie) and Kal Penn (Bachelor Party Vegas, Van Wilder). Each plays their character just as well as in the first one. It’s not these two that make this movie fall short of the first, it’s the writing. Again Kumar is responsible for getting the twosome into one terrible situation after another, and again Harold is dragged along for the ride, questioning why he’s friends with Kumar along the way.

A new standout addition to this movie is Kumar’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa, played by Danneel Harris (“One Tree Hill”, Rule Number One). One of the memorable scenes in the movie is a flashback to college that illustrates how Vanessa and Kumar met, and oddly enough, how Kumar began his passion for weed. The flashback also shows Harold with an “awesome” haircut.

The movie features a George W. Bush impersonation by James Adomian. George W. shares a joint with the fellas and stands up to his father before pardoning the so-called “terrorizers.”

This movie is like a comedic version of the Oscar winning Crash. It’s about racism, stereotypes and how America deals with those issues. Only it takes a comedic approach rather than a serious one and completely mocks the U.S. government; something that everyone enjoys a little.