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Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn
Director: Danny Leiner
Rated: R
RunTime: 87 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Malin Akerman, Anthony Anderson, Boyd Banks, Steve Braun, Paula Garces, Luis Guzman, Jamie Kennedy, Jon Hurwitz

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

In Danny Leiner's sweetly silly HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, John Cho and Kal Penn play a couple of part-time stoners named Harold and Kumar. In a quest one night for some variety in their fast food diet, they decide to leave their New Jersey apartment in order to eat at White Castle hamburgers, the East Coast gold standard for burgers. (Here on the West coast, it's In 'N Out Burger.) Their adventure, which is filled with side trips and disasters, is as much a search for weed as it is for meat.

The movie pokes fun at the overachieving culture of Asian-Americans. Harold is a junior investment banker who takes abuse everywhere but doesn't like it. He is currently having a fling with Maria (Paula Garcés), a woman with whom he has a ten second relationship most days in the elevator. He doesn't actually speak or do anything, but he has plans and dreams.

Meanwhile fellow brainiac Kumar is supposed to be going to med school to follow in his father's footsteps. No chance of that, however, since Kumar blows off his med school interviews and uses his medical textbook for paper to smoke his joints. Like Harold, he has dreams too, but his are of having sex with a human sized bag of pot. Did I mention yet how hilariously over-the-top the script is? There is bathroom humor aplenty, but it is surprising how fresh they make most of the recycled material feel.

In easily the funniest and most outlandish episode, the boys wreck their car and are picked up by a pus-ridden redneck named Freakshow, played by an unrecognizable Christopher Meloni from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Freakshow, who appears to be a human cannibal from a cheesy horror show, brings the boys home to meet his wife, Lianne (Malin Akerman), a seductive and gorgeous girl. He tells the lads to have sex with his wife, which seems too good to be true, but the guys engage in a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to see who will be first. Needless to say, things don't turn out quite the way Harold and Kumar had hoped.

Another episode has them picking up a horny Neil Patrick Harris, who plays himself in the film. Harris has only one thing on his mind in the movie, and it isn't fast food or marijuana. He plays a bizarre character in a movie full of them.

I've probably told you enough, and I didn't even get to the skinheads who destroy a convenience store with an aerial game of "extreme kayaking." You have to see it to believe it.

HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE runs a fast 1:27. It is rated R for "strong language, sexual content, drug use and some crude humor" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 15, thought the film was hilarious and gave it a full ****. He said that it may be pointless, but it sure was really, really funny and surprisingly original.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes

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