||Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
2004 - R - 87 Mins.
|Director: Danny Leiner|
|Producer: Greg Shapiro, Nathan Kahane|
|Written By: John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg|
|Starring: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Paula Garces, Eddie Kaye Thomas |
|Review by: Joe Rickey
|Official Site: www.haroldandkumar.com/|
A shining example of how chemistry and inspired goofiness can make for one mostly hilarious motion picture, ‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’ is a fun time at the movies. If it achieves the success it deserves, the film should make names out of its stars Kal Penn (Kumar) and John Cho (Harold). The film is also perhaps the most obvious use of product placement but in the end, one gets the idea that the burger franchise in question could have been made up and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit; the film would still be lots of fun.
So guys, were you fans of my TV show?
Harold is a socially inept accountant who is lonely as a result of his ineptness. He just isn’t able to carry on a conversation with members of the opposite sex. This personality trait leads to many moments of inspired hilarity as he stutters and stammers while attempting to meet girls. Meanwhile, his roommate Kumar is his complete opposite: A vivacious performer of sorts who often finds himself in over his head as a result of his attitude. The film follows their adventures after they watch a White Castle commercial and go out in search of the eating establishment; coming in contact with all sorts of weirdness and leading to a cameo by Neil Patrick Harris, AKA Doogie Howser, of all people.
‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’ first and foremost is a buddy comedy in the vein of ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.’ Like that film, it works because of its leads. As the socially restricted Harold, John Cho is imminently likable; portraying the awkward loneliness his character feels without going overboard and deftly handling all the varied comedic bits the film’s screenplay throws at him.
As his pal Kumar, Kal Penn also creates a likable persona; albeit one drastically different than Cho's. His facial expressions alone are worth the price of admission as he reacts to the wackiness transpiring around him with aplomb.
The film also benefits from assorted cameos. In addition to the extended cameo by the aforementioned Neil Patrick Harris, the film boasts appearances by Ryan Reynolds of ‘National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,’ and Anthony Anderson, a comedian who seems to appear in more films per year than anyone else working in Hollywood; after ‘My Baby’s Daddy’ and ‘Agent Cody Banks: Destination London’ and now this film.
Director Danny Leiner deserves a mention because, after the crude disaster that was ‘Dude, Where’s My Car,’ it is rather amazing that he has gone on to create a comedy with a somewhat similar idea, yet is on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to comedy. He adeptly keeps the film moving at a fast clip; not allowing the viewer much time to think about the zaniness they have just seen that may not make complete sense but still is riotously funny.
‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’ is one very funny motion picture. By overcoming its genre conventions and offering a pair of likable protagonists portrayed by inspired performers, it has moved to the forefront of comedic entertainment thus far this summer.