Commentary

May 24, 2012

On DVD

Fly Over: ‘Harold and Kumar’ Escape from Guantanamo Bay

by Macario Mora

Watching a film is like reading a book in that viewing a motion picture accomplishes one of two goals — the film entertains or stimulates the viewer intellectually. Occasionally, a movie accomplishes both. “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” does not. However, anyone familiar with the stoner duo’s 2004 cult classic “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” already knew what to expect before viewing the second go-around with our generation’s homage to our parent’s lovable losers — Cheech and Chong.

The film doesn’t disappoint.

The movie kicks off where the last film ended, and after a few stiff moments trying to decided if it’s okay to laugh at the raunchy, moronic humor, you settle into your skin and ignore the social norms, political correctness and manners that weigh on you daily.

Oddly enough, the low-level humor is therapeutic, letting you laugh within the confines of your sanctuary without the consequence of others judging you for laughing at socially awkward situations. Who doesn’t want to laugh at the kid who passes out in formation or the staff noncommissioned officer who treats every fun PT like it’s the Super Bowl?

The movie begins with the two hurriedly making their way through an airport to find Harold’s (John Cho) love interest, from the first movie, in Amsterdam. While in flight, Kumar (Kal Penn), an intellectually gifted med-school dropout, decides to self-medicate. Unfortunately, his self-medication tool looks similar to a bomb, and he looks Arabic. The two are apprehended and taken into custody where they’re interrogated. The moronic antagonist, Ron Fox, (Rob Corddry from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) disregards Harold and Kumar’s explanation and sends them to Guantanamo Bay.

They spend a day at “G-Bay” before escaping and hitching a ride with Cuban immigrants on a makeshift raft headed toward Miami. When they arrive, they decide the only way to clear their names is to travel to Texas and seek help from Kumar’s ex-girlfriend’s fiancé, who happens to work for Homeland Security.

Along the way, they encounter difficulties and take part in a plethora of eventful misadventures.

The funniest is their second encounter with Neil Patrick Harris, better known as Doogie Howser, M.D. Harris takes the two on another drug-induced adventure that includes mythological creatures, the Unicorn, and ultimately ends with Harris’ demise.

The pair finally makes it to Texas, but instead of receiving help, they’re tricked by the fiancé back onto a plane to “G-Bay.” The duo works their magic and escapes from the plane, crashing through President Bush’s roof.

To my amazement, the movie doesn’t portray the President in a negative light. Instead, he gives Harold and Kumar a bit of insight. After all the trouble the two go through with the government, they’re understandably cautious.

However, the President puts them at ease when he tells them he doesn’t trust the government either, even though he works for it, but that as long as you believe in and love the country it makes you a good American.

The movie is dumb. The acting, story and plot are typical.

Amazingly, the film somehow incorporates a bit of patriotism despite focusing on the country’s post-9/11 paranoia and our everyday prejudices.

If you want to relax your brain for a couple of hours, and can enjoy tasteless humor, then I suggest grabbing some microwavable popcorn, snuggling up on the couch and Netflixing Harold and Kumar, but don’t bring a date along unless they too laugh at the kid who trips on the sidewalk before offering a helping hand.

“Harold and Kumar” is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use.



About the Author

Macario Mora
Macario Mora
Macario Mora believes there are two types of movies, those that are intellectually stimulating and those that were made for pure entertainment value. His favorite movie is "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman. Gondry and Kaufman are also his favorite director and writer.


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