Well, subtle it ain’t. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay assaults you with diarrhea noises, gushing DNA, and very hairy man parts (in case anyone’s keeping track, this is the second new movie in as many weekends that puts real-live ding-dongs in the spotlight)—all in the first half-hour or so. If you can sit through the frat hijinks, you’re in for a pretty good time.
While H&K 2 doesn’t come close to matching the freshness or surprisingly on-point racial commentary of its predecessor, cult favorite Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (which followed the stoner friends with the munchies as they took an epic search for burgers) it offers enough laughs to merit the money. In fact, this may be the first Iraq War-related movie that audiences actually pay to see.
It picks up where part one left off, as the duo, uptight Korean investment banker (John Cho) and would-be medical student Kumar (Kal Penn) are getting ready to follow Harold’s longtime crush to drug-friendly Amsterdam. When Kumar sneaks in a hi-tech bong and panicky passengers mistake it for a bomb, an overzealous government agent makes sure the pair end up in Guantanamo Bay. They manage to escape and reach the U.S., only to hit the road to find the only person that can help them—a white, Republican Ken Doll who just happens to be the fiancé of Kumar’s ex.
The movie effectively skewers both terrorists and the over-zealous people who hunt them (hijacking civil rights to do it), though more than once, it slips into cliche territory (the pair trek through Alabama, where they stumble upon the requisite incestuous couple and a KKK rally). At times juvenile and gratuitous, at least the movie isn’t preachy. We’ll take this over watching Reese Witherspoon fish for an Oscar in self-righeous stuff like Rendition.