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Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (UR)
DVD disk
Aug 12, 2008 By: Mathew Plale
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (UR) order
Director:
Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

Actors:
John Cho
Kal Penn
Rob Corddry

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The stoners (John Cho, Kal Penn) return, their bellies full and hearts fluttering, as they make their way to Amsterdam to confess love and ingest bud. But en route, they're sent to Guantanamo Bay...
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’ll always have a spot in my heart (or DVD player, at least) for Jersey-centric flicks. That’s one of the reasons I was such a fan of 2004’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle—and it was funny, of course. So why do I recommend Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which isn’t nearly as fresh or Garden State-aware?

Because it’s profane and damn proud of it! And though I’m no devotee to no-brow humor like shit or masturbation gags, where’s the harm if the leads are someone we can root for? John Cho & Kal Penn return as the titular tokers, en route to Amsterdam so Harold can track down his neighbor (Paula Garcés) and confess his love…and Kumar can smoke the finest. On the plane, however, Kumar shows off his homemade, smoke-free bong, which the airline passengers mistake for a bomb. And their shenanigans begin…

This go-‘round, the boys find themselves escaping from Guantanamo Bay and encountering inbred Alabamians (and their one-eyed child), the KKK, Texan whores (and their madam, played by Beverly D’Angelo), and George W., who the boys share a joint with (hey, why not?). It’s all harmless, really, except the racist Homeland Security advisor (Rob Corddry), who bribes black witnesses with grape soda and suggests our boys represent the ties between al-Qaeda and North Korea. But you knew the brand of humor going in, and that’s why you’ll see the movie no matter what an underpaid web critic says. But note I never called it unfunny. Dumb yes, but not worthless—not entirely, anyway.

Directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s co-collaboration is vulgar throughout, but fans will simply defend the movie as “ballsy.” It’s both, really—how many stoner comedies pin Guantanamo Bay and our President as incompetent, penetrable forces? But at the same time, you wonder if there’s a point to half of our heroes’ misadventures other than for easy (and often recycled) laughs.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was initially optioned as a straight-to-video sequel, and though it’s not as laugh-out-loud funny or original as White Castle, STV material it is not.

Critic’s Note: A half-star was initially docked for minimal use of New Jersey, but reinserted for excellent use of Neil Patrick Harris.
THE EXTRAS
Disc One:

Audio Commentary with John Cho, Kal Penn and Director/Writers Hayden Schlossberg & Jon Hurwitz: An interesting and funny track, the guys offer numerous production stories and jokes throughout.

Audio Commentary with Director/Writers Hayden Schlossberg & Jon Hurwitz, “The Real Harold Lee” and James Adomian: The weaker of the two commentaries, this one features some overlapping from the previous track (but that’s to be expected, since Schlossberg & Hurwitz appear on both). Worth skipping, unless George W. impressions are your thing.

Also included is Dude, Change The Movie!, which allows viewers to choose Harold and Kumar’s decisions for them via pop-up scenarios. Examples include ‘Should Kumar smoke the weed?’ (hint: ‘No’ gives you an alternate movie completely), ‘Top or Bottom?’ (hint: try both), and ‘What do you do on roadtrips?’ (hint: turning on the radio triggers a sing-a-long with NPH).

Disc Two:

Inside the World of Harold and Kumar (21:34): This standard featurette goes behind-the-scenes of the movie through on-set footage and interviews with the cast and crew. Runs too long for the material.

Deleted Scenes (19:08): There are 18 here, many of which are alternate and extended scenes that add nothing significant to the story. Skip ‘em.

Extras (7:11): These nine are a mixture of deleted/alternate scenes and bloopers, and after watching them twice, I’m still not sure why they’re packaged together given the previous feature. But there’s more with the Cyclops, so what room do I have to complain?

Bush PSA (1:54): James Adomian (as George W.) stars in this short PSA promoting America and mispronunciations.

Also included are Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Like I said in the review, Guantanamo Bay isn't nearly as funny as White Castle, but it's nice to catch up with Harold & Kumar (a pair I never expected to want to be around) a few years later (one day, actually). One commentary would have sufficed and some of the extras just take up space, so the fans' biggest kicks will come from the feature.
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