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
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