Harold and Kumar Go To... (2004)
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Review Date: July 13, 2004
Director: Danny Leiner
Writer: John Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Producers: Greg Shapiro, Nathan Kahane
John Cho as Harold
Kal Penn as Kumar
Neil Patrick Harris as Neil Patrick Harris
Two friends, one of whom is Asian, shy and unassertive at his workplace, the other who is Indian, a rebel and loves the Ganjah, decide to drive over to their local White Castle burger stand in order to extinguish their après-weed bout of the "munchies". Unfortunately for them, their seemingly standard trek leads them through a variety of misadventures, many of which involve more of the Wacky-Tobaccy, sex and good ol' fashioned humor.
If you enjoyed DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR, chances are dandy that you're likely to appreciate many of the similar stoner shenanigans in director Danny Leiner's follow-up to the surprise hit, with a couple of goofy, amiable dudes who like to get high starring in a series of misadventures, all of which add up to nothing in terms of plot, but plenty in terms of entertainment value, laughs and fun. This is the kind of movie that will be enjoyed by most everyone in its target market, especially those who will make sure that their senses are completely blitzkrieged before checking into this oddball offering. But you don't need to inhale anything to enjoy this movie (as the film reminds us, "Marijuana kills", after all), with plenty of hilarious situations (my personal fave includes a dream sequence with Kumar and a stash of weed that cracked me up like nothing else this year), memorable dialogue (from here on out, I will be incorporating "I was trippin' balls" into my everyday vocabulary), cool tunes, hot chicks (with actual T&A!) and wackiness all around, ensuring that you will find at least a handful of the goofiness to your liking. I thoroughly enjoyed this film's initial premise and opening, loved its final half hour or so, but did sort of tune out about halfway with a few of the sketch-like setups not thoroughly cracking me up. Surprisingly, some of the "name" cameos were the least entertaining, including those by Anthony Anderson (someone explain the term "overexposed" to this guy's agent), Ryan Reynolds, Jamie Kennedy and Christopher Meloni as an over-the-top character known as "Freakshow".

What really keeps the film going though are its stars, John Cho and Kal Penn, both of whom offer personable performances ripe with confidence and hilarity. Both fellas keep the film grounded with an everyday quality about them, as they essentially travel through the most standard plotline, filled with references to Katie Holmes' tits in THE GIFT (click to read my review of her breasts) and tons of emphasis on the delicious goal that is the White Castle hamburger. By the end of the movie, you're not only rooting for these two slackers, but you also want to head down to your local burger joint, smoke some shit and chow down yourself. The film is peppered with a number of very funny sequences including an inspired highway hitchhiker in the guise of actor Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser M.D.) playing himself, who might just deserve a movie of his own after this ("I nailed every ass on that set!") The extreme sports dudes were also pretty funny, as were most of the race-related gags, particularly the accommodating jailed black man who understood the bigotry around him and just accepted it-in a funny way, of course. I coulda done without the shitting gag or the stuff with the raccoon, but then again, I wasn't high, so who knows how that shit will play out when I'm cranked out of my dick. All in all, I can't say that this film was "laugh a minute", since a handful of its situations weren't entirely successful, but overall, I just couldn't help but smile as the two leads bungled their way through the land of weed, chicks and burgers. I also appreciated the film's nod to Amsterdam, the city in which yours truly was delivered onto this earth. "Thank you, come again!!" I will.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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