From Danny Leiner, the director of "Dude, Where's My Car?" comes "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," another pothead comedy that is infinitely better than Leiner's last attempt.
Though some will disagree with me, "Dude, Where's My Car?" was one of the dumbest and lamest comedies ever to grace the big screen. It alone made me skeptical of Leiner's next film, but boy was I surprised! "Harold & Kumar" is funny, clever and pleasantly short. Unlike "Dude," "Harold & Kumar" features two very bright people, an Asian investment banker named Harold (John Cho) and an Indian college student named Kumar (Kal Penn) - they just both really like to smoke pot. One night, overcome with the munchies, they set out for White Castle burgers, but what seems like a simple task soon becomes a monumental one. As they journey through the night, they encounter a group of poser snowboarders, an escaped cheetah, a deformed mechanic with a beautiful and loose wife and plenty of other random occurrences (like the real Doogie Howser!).
Obviously, those looking for "serious" comedies may want to hit theaters and check out "Sideways," but "Harold & Kumar" is surprisingly intelligent, albeit not without its share of shameless jokes as well. There are a fair amount of boobs, a ravenous raccoon and a man covered with puss-filled boils. There are also several clever jokes revolving around racial stereotypes... and, of course, pot.
The third act of the movie does lose its touch a bit as the situations the guys get into start to become a bit too much, especially as they attempt to avoid the police time and time again. Still, the movie is more than worth it, and kudos should go to the two leads for creating a great duo that easily rivals Bill and Ted. Cho has been deserving of a lead role for years after such funny or interesting supporting performances in films like "American Pie" (he "created" the term "MILF") and "Better Luck Tomorrow," and he does not disappoint. Penn, best known for his role in "Van Wilder," is equally impressive. The movie also boasts plenty of cameo appearances from other teen comedies.
"Harold & Kumar" is, surprisingly, one of the funnier movies of the year and should not be overlooked in any way or form. It's definitely geared toward teenage audiences, but this is a classic in the making.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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