Fans of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle will not be disappointed by the second installment of this weed-friendly comedy -- that is, if they don't mind excessive fart jokes, full-frontal nudity, the inbred, and bodily fluids in all the wrong places. But beyond the gross-out humor, John Cho as Harold and Kal Penn as Kumar deliver spot-on comedic timing, while writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg provide hilarious racially charged dialogue and a story that remains true to the original without tediously rehashing too many previous jokes.
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay begins where 2004's White Castle left off: the morning after the title pair's raucous night in search of the legendary hamburgers. Harold and Kumar -- though the actors look a little older and Penn appears to have put on a few extra pounds since the previous night (must have been the burgers) -- pack their belongings and head to the airport to catch their flight to Amsterdam to find Harold's love, Maria (Paula Garcés). Because of a device in Kumar's possession that looks like a bomb, he and Harold end up detained as terrorists by agent Ron Fox (the indefatigable Rob Corddry), the ultimate government sleazebag who at one point literally wipes his ass with the Bill of Rights (not one of the movie's high points).
Once the hunt begins, the story structure starts to resemble a slightly more intelligent version of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, a team of government officials hunting two innocuous characters due to a misunderstanding. Fortunately, the film uses this opportunity to mock the U.S. government's post-Sept. 11 racial profiling and civil-rights violations. But the movie should probably be called something other than Escape From Guantanamo Bay, because Harold and Kumar spend less than five minutes in the compound before escaping to a former classmate's Florida mansion and heading to Texas to find someone who could potentially solve their dilemma through his government ties.
Hurwitz and Schlossberg integrate a hilarious flashback to Kumar's college days (before he discovered weed) and a well-written encounter with Neil Patrick Harris, who, as in the first film, plays a womanizing version of himself. But perhaps the funniest scene comes at the end of the film, when the duo ends up in the commander in chief's rec room. James Adomian (MadTV) delivers a masterful George W. Bush impression in a sequence in which our great leader lights up a coke-laced doobie with a couple of suspected "terrorizers."
If you can let go of the over-the-top gross-out humor and the outrageous scenarios, this film succeeds in garnering almost as many laughs with its unique style as the original did -- sans cheetah.
Written and directed by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Neil Patrick Harris