Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay tries to relive the comedic trip of the original, but isn’t nearly as funny or clever.
What worked as subtle social commentary mixed in with crude stoner jokes before has now been replaced by an overtly political agenda and even more over-the-top body humor.
In their quest to be even edgier than the first adventure, the writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg went for the shock style of humor laid lazily on the same formula that made them famous. The “I’ve never seen that before and oh it’s disgusting” method to gross out an audience sometimes get a laugh and sometimes I heard someone say around me, “Wow, what the hell?” Within a matter of minutes into the movie there are already graphic scenes involving feces and semen.
The rest seemed to be packed with stereotypical race gags that tried too hard to offend every ethnicity with equal audacity. Occasionally it was biting and laugh-out-loud funny at the expense of the KKK or the government. But sometimes there was nothing satirical about it, making Rob Corddry’s character look more like just a blatant racist than an overzealous Homeland Security official. They hit a little close to home at times too and when 9/11 was directly brought up in the dialogue, you could hear a pin drop in the theater.
The events of H&K 2 take place just hours after the weed-induced adventure to White Castle. But on their way to Amsterdam, a smokeless bong is mistaken for a smoking bomb and the two stoners are labeled as terrorists. Or “terrorizers” as the bad George W. Bush impersonator says in the third act. They’re sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they stay for about five minutes before being offered a “cock-meat sandwich.” I wish I was making that up. They quickly escape and start the search for someone who can guarantee their freedom.
In the airport (before the mass hysteria incident) they ran into Kumar’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa, a stunning redhead, and her fiance Colton, a well-off “douchebag” with family ties to the President. Harold and Kumar travel across the country to beg this d-bag for help in clearing their names with Homeland Security.
Neil Patrick Harris shows up again and steals the whole show from the lead characters. I would have rather them gone with another minor celebrity appearance rather than rehashing almost the exact same material as before, but I had to admit that NPH was again the highlight of the movie.
I was surprised this movie wasn’t slapped with an NC-17 rating with some of the graphic scenes and extreme nudity. At one point the two guys showed up at a “bottom-less party” where everyone was required to be nude from the waist down. Not that I minded since it was 99% model-hot women, but I was still shocked the ten minutes of full frontal and rear nakedness made it past the MPAA.
Once you get past all the skits intended to surprise the audience, it’s just Harold whining and Kumar dreaming about weed and Vanessa (sometimes at the same time).