Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
Genres: Comedy, Stoner Comedy
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Jon Hurwitz Jon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg Hayden Schlossberg
John Cho John Cho
Kal Penn Kal Penn
Rob Corddry Rob Corddry
Jack Conley Jack Conley
Roger Bart Roger Bart
Movie Connections:
Harold & Kumar
> Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)
> Harold & Kumar Escape From... (2008)
> A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 28, 2008
Time for some straight talk, people - I didn't really care for "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle". I thought it had some chuckles, but for the most part didn't live up to all the hype that had been generated about the film. I didn't think the humor was broad enough and I didn't think all of the pay-offs worked as well as they could have. That said, I was still excited about "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay". It's rare that a trailer for a film like this gets me so damned excited, but this was one of the exceptions. Ever since I saw that first trailer spot, I have been just frothing at the mouth to see this one. And, boy, was I not disappointed. "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is one of the most offensive, disgusting and horribly amusing films I have seen in a long time, and the funniest film I have seen since "Borat". It takes two characters that fans know and love and sends them into this series of over the top adventures that seem like they belong out of a film from the 1980's. It was almost like the filmmakers read my critique of the first film and made every single correction I had in the back of my head. I know that wasn't the case, but it's nice to dream, isn't it? "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is the funniest film of the year and one of the most entertaining films I have seen in quite a few months.

The events of this film take place about a week after the events of the previous film. Harold and Kumar are headed to Amsterdam so Harold (John Cho) can see his new lady friend, when Kumar (Kal Penn) decides to get stoned on the airplane, leading them to be mistaken for terrorists trying to blow up the plane. Enter Ron Fox (Ron Corddry) of Homeland Security, who firmly believes they are evil and dangerous, and has the racial sensitivity of a 1930's blackface routine. Harold and Kumar are sent to Guantanamo Bay, and this is when the real madness begins. After escaping from prison, they are sent across the United States as they make their ways to Texas. Their trip takes them to the heart of the South - Birmingham, AL - where they run into a hunter and his wife who have their son locked in the basement; as well their old buddy Neil Patrick Harris, who gives them a ride and proceeds to pop shroom after shroom after shroom, until unicorns are the last of his troubles. This film has everything from Ku Klux Klan rallies and George W. Bush to a horrible, but hysterical scene involving Rob Corddry and a can of grape soda. You never know what you're going to see next, and it's that kind of broad humor that makes the film so damned special.

Just like the first film, the film is a combination of horribly obscene dick and fart jokes and racial humor that hasn't been this prevalent in a long time. Now, I had a problem with some of the dick and fart jokes in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" because they didn't seem necessary and they seemed like they were being used just for the hell of it. Here, it makes sense. You got a taste of it in the first film, and now they're smacking you upside the head with it. That kind of humor can work if the film isn't trying to take itself too seriously in the first place. In this film, there is an entire scene of women walking around, vaginas exposed for the world to see. We then have a man's genitalia exposed with an Osama Bin Laden-esque beard. These scenes are shocking, but they don't seem out of place in a film that seems very much in the tradition of "Porky's". And, at the heart of the film, are a couple of nice stories involving true love and friendship. You're not going to get bogged down with those stories, but they are present and they do add a little warmth to a picture that was designed to make the audience roll over in the aisles with laughter; it succeeds at that.

As far as performances, what's not to love about John Cho and Kal Penn? Though I didn't care for the first film, I thought their performances were fine and I could tell they were designed to be very likable characters. Here, they do a fine job of staying true to their characters every step of the way. Rob Corddry steals the show as the most offensive and ignorant government character ever portrayed on the screen. His best scene comes with Ed Helms when they are interrogating the parents of Harold and Kumar, with Ed Helms trying desperately to understand a language which is obviously American. Neil Patrick Harris is also hysterical playing himself again, a role which he seems more than apt in portraying. His best scene comes at the whore house and it is one of the single most laugh-inducing scenes I have seen in ages. Finally, I do want to point out an understated, but very enjoyable Roger Bart as the only member of the government who seems to understand that Harold and Kumar are just stupid kids and nothing more. Bart usually takes these supporting roles, and he always shines at them. Very underrated character actor.

So, if you cannot tell, I loved "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay". This is no holds barred comedy - balls to the wall storytelling and a great way to make me get over the disappointment of the latest Apatow-influenced picture. "Harold and Kumar..." is going to offend a lot of people, and some people might even storm out of the picture in disgust, but those are the people who don't need to be in there anyways. I sincerely hope a third installment of the franchise is in the works because this is one series that I think has the potential to keep going, at least for a couple more films. I mean - who is going to get tired of Neil Patrick Harris? Who is going to get tired of Beverly D'Angelo dressed up like a cowgirl whore? In closing, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is the funniest film of 2008 and one of the best films of the year. Don't count on it making my end of the year list, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 04/29/2008, 01:55 AM
This was really great, funniest film of 08 so far...... so far. 9/10
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 08/02/2008, 09:40 PM
No holds barred comedy huh? Sure, it was over the top, but other than a few gags (I'll give you the grape soda scene, that was hilarious) I just found this one too damned unoriginal to really enjoy it. Hell, I called at least 80% of the jokes before they were made.
Chad #3: Chad - added 08/05/2008, 07:03 AM
Unoriginal? You're pathetic - this movie was hilarious. Awesome/10.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 08/05/2008, 01:13 PM
It's hard to laugh at something you saw coming a mile away.
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 08/05/2008, 01:42 PM
Not if it's funny enough to go the distance.
Greg Follender #6: Greg Follender - added 02/20/2009, 01:44 AM
Finally got around to sitting through this today...

Maybe you folks were just stoned enough to see past this turd's topical polish and rehashed humor...
Perhaps I've just seen too many of these sorts of puerile exercises in my movie-going lifetime...
I barely chuckled once during the entire film's runtime... and the good moments were easily lost during the last reel's craptacular wind-up. The ending sequence alone should have sent this one straight to video (which practically happened here in New York, I might add...)

Utter shite.

3/10... makes the first one look like a comedy classic.
Lucid Dreams #7: Lucid Dreams - added 09/05/2009, 02:04 AM
I watched this for about an hour and did not laugh one time, so instead of finishing it I turned it off. 2/10
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