Director: Danny Leiner
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Ethan Embry
Screenplay: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
88 mins. Rated R for strong language, sexual content, drug use and some crude humor.
Are you good, now? Are you calm? Okay then…
In this yearly celebration of stoner-movies, we look at a rather popular comedy from about ten years ago.
In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, we meet Harold (John Cho, American Beauty, Star Trek Beyond), a Korean-American man working in investment banking, and his friend Kumar (Kal Penn, TV’s Designated Survivor, Epic Movie), an Indian-American who feels as if he is being forced into his family’s line of work as doctors. The two love hanging out, watching movies, and getting stoned. Tonight, though, they have a hankering for a very specific munchie. Tonight, they must have White Castle. The two stoners take to their quest with much vigor and, along the way, get into crazy shenanigans involving an escaped cheetah, racist cops, and Neil Patrick Harris (played by Neil Patrick Harris).
Harold & Kumar is definitely not for everyone, but it falls almost perfectly into the stoner comedy void left behind by the now-classic Cheech & Chong series. The film also says a lot about familial expectations and race in our current times. And it is pretty damn funny, too.
Cho and Penn play off each other rather well, and they are further serviced by a resurging perfectly-played parody by Neil Patrick Harris (in a role that would later earn him Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother). Most other balls-to-the-walls comedies also get help when they receive a number of notable cameos, which this film also receives. I won’t give them all away, but Ryan Reynolds and Anthony Anderson are the most fun.
All in all, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is a very funny albeit by-the-numbers comedy. It has the inkling to become a tried and true classic in the genre, but only time will tell if it slips into obscurity. I, personally, do love shenanigans for shenanigans’ sake, and Harold & Kumar is chock-full. It’s a fun time, with or without a puff.
-Kyle A. Goethe