Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Very Late Review - Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay

Bum asked me to blog about this a while back. I only recently actually made it to the theater, as movie-watching seems to have fallen off my things to do, which is sad. Especially sad since I only see really bad movies when I do go (this weekend I saw Baby Mama. Enough said?).

I have been looking forward to the Harold & Kumar sequel for a very long time. I loved, loved, loved the first one. Thought it was so very funny, so very spot on with racial commentary in contemporary US culture. Also: someone has sex with a giant bag of weed. How does one not love it?

So...big expectations, but prepared to love, even if not so good. Like the way you kind of like the idiot brother of someone you really love. They share the same genes, so there's something there, right?

Except...oh, this was disappointing. It felt like the creators/directors/writers/whoever got a pile of money based on the cult status of the original and were determined to use every last dollar of that, to utterly shoot their load, Michael Bay-style, rather than sticking with what worked in the first one.

The White Castle one was, at its heart, kind of a sweet story about two friends on a pretty mundane adventure who get caught up in these absurd moments. And a lot of the charm was that they were so very different, but really got each other, had a backstory and a tolerance for each other's bullshit. My brain's not working very well, but it's kind of like the relationship in Good Will Hunting between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The background relationship between the two leads is an integral part of the story.

Guantanamo Bay...well, that's like John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. They don't respect each other much, and like each other even less. It seems like Harold and Kumar are two people just kind of stuck together on this wacky, wacky adventure. It's all absurdist, there's nothing much relatable, because while I have been on road-trips to find the perfect food, I do not have friends who have bottom-less parties. Or at least friends who invite me to bottom-less parties. Thank you, friends.

There are funny moments in this film. There are. But there's no replacing the original.

However, Neil Patrick Harris rocks the house.

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