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Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Tries Too Hard

Published April 24, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Poster Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo
I was a big fan of the original Harold and Kumar. It wasn't as overt as that summer's Dodgeball and Anchorman. It just crept in mildly with a few clever twists and running jokes and tickled me. Now it feels like the sequel is trying too hard.

Review: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo

The whole first half of the movie is really slow. There are poop jokes and cum shots but nothing as insightfully twisted as the diarrhea twins. There's a cute gag with a twisted homophobic logic but that's it.

Every scene is so much about racial stereotypes that it just gets old. The film doesn't have anything perceptive to say about it except that it's wrong. At a certain point, they payoff the opposite of our expectations so often that that itself becomes predictable.

All this time, it's still nice to see these guys again. I really like them and I want to be on another adventure with them. In fact, it took a long time before I had to admit it just wasn't working. I was giving them a few passes on fart noises and gay jokes.

The film finally comes back to life when Neil Patrick Harris returns. He is just awesome. There are other call backs to the original that aren't as successful. For example, the bag of weed fantasy in this film is just sexual, where the fantasy in the first film went to logical extremes of having their relationship become abusive. That was clever, this is just attempted shock.

The random adventures along the way get a little better when they stop making every single one about racism. There are still no encounters as cleverly bizarre as the first film. In fact, they're all rather gimmicky, but at least there are a few new funny adventures for the boys.

Perhaps it is the curse of a cult hit. The first film was discovered by its audience, but then everyone, even its creators, tried to predict what they liked, so they stuffed the sequel full of all these ideas. Hopefully it will only be a bump in a trilogy that redeems itself with part three.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of New Line

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