[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Excessively potty-mouthed, politically-incorrect comedy

[Strip of film rule]
by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

(2008) I'm liberal, thus tolerant of other people's viewpoints and expressions; nevertheless, I found this crass (unrated version) politically-incorrect comedy by writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to be excessively potty-mouthed and unnecessarily crude with gratuitous grossness. Nonetheless, it made me laugh.

In the airport before catching their flight to Amsterdam, where Harold Lee (John Cho) hopes to hook up with Maria (away for ten days) of whom he only knows her first name, Roldy and his best friend Kumar Patel (Kal Penn), after accusing an African-American security guard of "textbook racial profiling," encounter Vanessa Fanning (Danneel Harris), Kumar's former girlfriend, and her fiancÚ ("date-rape face") Colton Graham (Eric Winter), whose father has connections with President George W. Bush.

These two dudes from New Jersey, Harold, a government employee (thanks to Colton), and Kumar, an unemployed pothead and med student, Korean-American and Indian-American, respectively, get arrested by air marshals on the airplane when a woman (who's already imagined Kumar as a bearded Islamist) mistakes Kumar's smokeless bong for a bomb: "Terrorist!" "No, he's just an idiot," says Harold.

After the aircraft turns around, Homeland Security's Agent Ron Fox (Rob Corddry), substituting for the Secretary (who's off ice fishing), takes charge of the criminal duo, assuming them to be a North Korean and a Koran-carrying al-Qaeda illegal-enemy combatants. When the two Jersey boys protest their innocence as American citizens with rights, Fox tells them: "Where you guys are going, they have never even heard of rights."

In less than an hour following their incarceration, Harold and Kumar, dressed in orange jumpsuits, faced with a Big Bob's cockmeat sandwich, escape from Guantanamo Bay, hopping aboard a raft with Cubans fleeing Castro's communist regime. In South Florida they find their buddy Raza Seyd hosting a bottomless party (featuring women naked from the waist down and the hip-hop song "My Dick").

Driving through Alabama on their way to Hewitt, Texas - where Harold hopes Colton can get them out of their predicament while Kumar (recalling his first meeting with Vanessa in the college library, helping her with calculus, while she turned him on to marijuana) plots to ruin the wedding - they ram Raza's yellow convertible into a fire hydrant, upsetting a group of black men playing basketball.

Hightailing into the woods, they make acquaintance with a redneck deer hunter, who takes them home to meet his wife Raylene and their inbred child Cyrus, followed by a run-in with white-sheeted Klansmen (Christopher Meloni as the Grand Wizard) assembled around a cross-burning bonfire. Just in time they're rescued by their stoner pal Neil Patrick Harris (as himself), an actor from Starship Troopers, who just happens to be on his way to Texas, but first he makes a detour to a whorehouse (with Beverly D'Angelo as Sally the madam).

Meanwhile Agent Fox interrogates Mr and Mrs Patel (whom he assumes to be Arabs) and Mr and Mrs Lee (for whom he has brought a Korean translator, though they've been American citizens for 40 years) as well as accomplices Goldstein (David Krumholtz) and Rosenberg.

After dropping in unexpectedly on the president and hanging out with him ("I can pardon whoever I want"), Harold and Kumar partake of presidential weed and a deep insight: "You don't have to believe in your government," says Dubya (James Adomian), taking another toke, "you just have to believe in your country."

My favorite scene from the three or four that stood out in this juvenile entertainment, involving asinine humor and extremely bad taste (at the Grahams' mansion, Colton mentions needing to have plenty of Coors available because it's the president's favorite beer), has Kumar, who apart from this scene appears to lack any emotional maturity, reciting his poem:

"I fear that I will always be

A lonely number like root of three.

A three is all that's good and right;

Why must my three keep out of sight

Beneath a vicious square-root sign?

I wish instead I were a nine,

For nine could thwart this evil trick

With just some arithmetic.

I'll never know the sum

As 1.7321

Such is my reality

A sad irrationality.

When, hark, just what is this I see?

Another square-root of three

Has quietly come waltzing by.

Together now we multiply

To form a number we prefer.

Rejoicing as an integer,

We break free from our mortal bonds,

And with a wave of magic wands,

Our square-root signs become unglued,

And love for me has been renewed."

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2008 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)