Oh deer!

Oh deer!

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is near and dear to me for three main reasons: first, one of the co-writers, Hayden Schlossberg, went to the U of C; second, I originally saw the movie at said college, where an attempt to smuggle White Castle led to a run-in with Johnny Law that felt like a deleted scene from Crash; and third, the movie is brilliantly hilarious.  So I was a bit excited for Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

I wouldn’t necessarily say I was let down, especially since I really do believe the first one reached rarefied air, but Harold and Kumar II felt, well, run-of-the-mill.  The movie picks up right after the first, Harold Lee and Kal Penn return as Lee is determined to go to Amsterdam to meet up with new love Maria (Paula Garces).  But freewheeling Penn gets them in trouble, and after a stint in the titular prison, they begin a new road trip, the destination of which is mostly irrelevant.

It doesn’t feel like a rip off of the first one, exactly, yet it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.  In fact, it feels mostly like a completely average comedy.  A few really funny bits (Ed Helms, most of Kumar’s fantasy pops/flashbacks, the Bush scene), a few really terrible bits (Rob Corddry’s character, for example, which is sad), and good chunk of eh.  The eh is generally entertaining, which is positive, but it is still eh.  It kinda felt like they planned out what would happen (i.e. “Here’s where Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz reprise their roles.”  “Here’s where NPH does something ridiculous”) and just assumed the funny would insert itself into the script.  NPH needs material, people!

It is also sad that Hurwitz and Schlossberg were so desperate to win my love that they patterned one of the major plotlines after a completely generic romcom premise.  Tsk tsk.  I guess I most missed the fresh zaniness I was hoping would be passed to down to this sequel.  But maybe it is difficult to duplicate that sort of humor.

Three Stars (7.0 on imdb, 54% on RT, 3.4 on Netflix)

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