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Film Review - Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is the latest film from director Danny Leiner, whose previous credits include the mediocre Dude, Where’s My Car. This film, thankfully, is much better; the writing is clever and funny and the characters are extremely likable.

Harold, played by John Cho, is a straight-laced junior investment analyst who likes to play it safe, and ends up having work dumped on him by his co-workers. He is shy and awkward, and pines from afar for a girl who lives in his building. His roommate Kumar, played by Kal Penn is smooth, confident, and a brilliant student. He has both the brains and the marks required for admission any medical school, but he has absolutely no desire to do so.

The film opens with a funny sequence where Kumar intentionally ruins an interview with a potential med-school so he won’t get accepted. We learn that his does this because he needs to at least appear to be trying, or his father will stop paying for his apartment. These two characters of such differing personalities share a love for one thing: getting high. After one such episode, the pair, in the clutches of an inevitable case of the munchies, attempts to decide what would be the perfect meal to satiate their cravings. A commercial for White-Castle appears on the TV, and so their journey begins.

The antics that follow range from mildly amusing to downright hilarious. Some scenes, like those with "Freak Show", or the cheetah seem silly and somewhat out of place, but they are only small weak points in what is by and large, a very strong and funny film. Neil Patrick Harris, TV’s Dougie Howser, makes an incredibly funny appearance, as himself. I will not spoil any of the fun for you here, but I must say that Harris is a brave guy and a really great sport for allowing himself to be portrayed as he is. Also amusing are the "extreme" guys, who seem to basically be really racist versions of the Dew Dudes. They ignorantly taunt Harold and Kumar mercilessly, and have an uncanny knack of being wherever it is our heroes end up going. As Kumar himself remarks "These guys are everywhere!"

Therein lies the true strength of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Sure, it has the prerequisite scatological and stoner jokes, but at its core there is a deeper message. The film playfully makes fun of all manner of racial stereotypes, from the aforementioned extreme guys, to the over the top cops who pull sleeping black men out of bed and accuse them of resisting arrest. Seeing stereotypes satirized and made fun of is an important step to addressing them, as it helps us to see them as silly and irrelevant as they are. Further to this, it’s refreshing to see in a mainstream Hollywood film a South-Asian actor who’s not playing a convenience store clerk, and an Asian actor who can play a lead role without being a martial arts master. The two leads are both likable and engaging, and the film deftly allows both of them to grow and change throughout the story without it feeling unrealistic or cheesy.

By the end of the film, it seems pretty clear where Harold and Kumar will be going in the sequel, and I look forward to it, if it can maintain the funnyPsychology Articles, engaging nature of this film

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Darren LaRose is a huge movie fan. He loves all types of films, from blockbuster genre hits, to obscure foreign films. Film Noir and Japanese cinema are two of his favourite things in the world. He currently muses about all things entertainment at The Blog with No Name - Movie News and Reviews, and movie posters at Posters Online



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