Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (unrated edition)

Starring John Cho and Kal Penn. Directed by John Hurwitz and Hay Scholossberg. Music by George Clinton. More information from the Wikipedia page.


Being a big fan of the original, the promise of a sequel thrilled me up until I saw the trailer. Almost immediately, I could tell they have tweaked it. The first movie is ribald and a bit rude in places, but it somehow has more heart than your average pot flick. The trailer gave me the strange feeling that somehow earnest heartfelt comedy would be replaced with more body fluid jokes. I was only about half wrong.

The movie does have several fluid jokes. Several. There is a pleasantly disgusting crap joke to start it off, and some urine action later. If you have ever dreamed of seeing Kal Penn jizz his own face, come on down (this is in the unrated version, at least). Likewise, if you ever wondered what a vagina would look like on a bag of marijuana, then here you go.

Of the remaining material, half is recycled from the first movie. Some good and some bad. Neil Patrick Harris is back, and funny as ever. In fact, the extended glimpse into the H&K-verse's NPH is probably the highlight of the film. "Dude, that was awesome." "Yeah, you should try having that conversation on shrooms..." On top of this, we have crazy but friendly redneck, overbearing cop figures, and white guys who make the lives of minorities hard. And pot. But no cheetahs.

The remaining jokes tend to revolve around stereotypes, much more in this movie than the first one. A black man is tempted with grape soda. Jews are tempted with a bag of loose change. When it is thrown on the table, one quips "That's about seven dollars, right?" I chuckled at both of those, since they were played very much like a skit out of Blazing Saddles, bashing the stereotype while using them for humor at the same time, in a perfect balance.

Of course, there are a ton of lines that comes from poking fun of the American drug policy and paranoid cops destroying lives in defense of freedom. I won't call these jokes, because every time you start to laugh at them, you can't help but think that people really do suffer from these things. I was of mixed emotions. I wanted to chuckle, but a weed laden President Bush is a five second joke, not a five minute joke.

And there you have it, one of the biggest flaws of the movie, it takes just too long to get it done. It is only 102 minutes or so, but it still drags in a couple of places. The cutting of this movie could have been a bit more crisp. Poop jokes don't require an extra thirty seconds of "flavor" sounds. Getting peed on can be funny, but doesn't need two minutes of build up. The "Weedy" scene was a classic in the first movie, but this one takes the "sex with a bag of pot" and runs with it for five minutes, with anal and fisting and strap-ons and 69s (and one of this movies two shots of Kal Penn masturbating). If this movie lost about twenty minutes of it's repetitiveness it would have been a whole lot stronger.

Then again, it does have a whore named Tits Hemmingway. Why? Because she has big tits and likes A Moveable Feast. That's kind of classic, right there.

My rating is a Eh. I liked seeing the guys back in action, and I laughed enough at it to be glad of the purchase (unrated DVD). I didn't get the two-disk version because I didn't realize it existed at the time, but the deleted scenes sound like more of the same so it's probably ok.

Written by W Doug Bolden

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