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HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (R) (2004)

New Line Cinema

Official Site

Director: Danny Leiner

Producers: Greg Shapiro, Nathan Kahane

Written by: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Neil Patrick Harris, Ryan Reynolds, Anthony Anderson, Ethan Embry

 Rating:


There’s an old cliché: been there, done that, and all I got was a stupid t-shirt—and thanks to my trivia knowledge of fast-food joints, a pair of boxers courtesy of 97.9, The Box. However, the boxers, plastered with the logo of the new road trip, high times comedy, Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, are fly-less, a complete travesty. But despite my initial hesitations, Harold And Kumar was not quite the travesty I expected, or at least not the travesty equivalent of fly-less boxers or director Leiner’s last movie, Dude, Where’s My Car?

To those who do not know—because many who attended the screening of the film were unaware—White Castle is a fast-food joint up in the northeast, usually in the New Jersey/New York area. They are famous for their aptly named Sliders, designated as such because of their fast action sliding in… and out. The burgers are pretty much akin to solidified grease and shit, but it’s still one of the most iconic third-rate fast-food joints in the nation. Its southern sister is Crystal Burger.

Now on to our ethnically, politically correct pair. There’s low-key, passive, corporate office-worker Harold Lee (Cho), and his roommate, the pot-headed, foul-mouthed, crass, underachieving slacker Kumar Patel (Penn). Harold is bad with the ladies and gets walked over by his superiors at work. Kumar has a natural talent for medicine and science but acts like a schmuck as a form of rebellion against the family and ethnic stereotype. The two share very little in common other than the fact that they both like to get seriously high together and defeat the threat of the munchies afterward. Harold and Kumar get high one night and watch an enticing White Castle commercial. Kumar decides that it’s time to try some White Castle. And their episodic quest of Apocalypse Now proportions begins, featuring naked women, racist police officers, and more cameos of 2nd- and 3rd-rate actors than you can shake a stick at. It is pretty sad that the movie needs Doogie Howser (Harris as himself) to save it, but hey, work with what you can, right?

Cho plays a decent straight man as Harold, which impressed me more than he could in the God-awful sitcom, "Off Centre" or “The Asian guy from American Pie” as he’s billed in the trailers. Penn showed very little in the film other than his bare rump and his ability to curse like a sailor, but still a different character than “The Indian guy from Van Wilder.” However, Penn was in what I thought was the funniest scene in the film, which consisted of a dream sequence featuring himself and his love for a giant bag of weed with arms and legs.

Ignoring my severe distaste for most low-brow comedies and anything marijuana-related, I found Harold And Kumar rather un-offensive and at best not terrible, though a scene that depicts Harold and Kumar’s Semitic toker neighbors, Goldstein (Krumholtz) and Rosenberg (Thomas), using a shofar as a bong treaded the line pretty closely. Those who found enjoyment in the American Pie films, Van Wilder, or Road Trip would enjoy this film equally. Just be leery when the two British Princeton students utter the words “Battle Shit.”

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Brett Newski



Pink Floyd

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