Thursday, 22 March 2012

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)

Just like the first Harold & Kumar movie, this has grown on me since my first viewing. It just hasn't grown on me all that much. I think it's pretty funny in places, sure, but it's not as good as the first film by quite a margin.

Despite the title, the plot doesn't actually revolve around our two leads (once again played by John Cho and Kal Penn) escaping from Guantanamo Bay. Oh, that actually does happen but it happens for only a few minutes. The rest of the movie consists of the boys staying ahead of the zealous law enforcement official (Rob Corddry) who believes them to be terrorist scum. And that's really all you need to know.

Following on immediately from the events of the first movie, the direction is this time handled by writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, there's plenty here that will entertain fans of the original. It's just a shame that most of it is recycled from the first film with the whole thing having an longer runtime and lesser gag ratio.

Some moments still stand out: Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious once again, Christopher Meloni returns to play a Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, an attempt to draw information out of Harold and Kumar's parents allows Ed Helms to have some fun and Rob Corddry is almost always funny when onscreen (something that can't be said of most of his other movie roles).

While the script isn't as sharp this time around and while the concept may feel like they've already slightly outstayed their welcome, the movie is raised up by yet another great collection of actors all joining in with the fun, even for the smallest of cameo roles. As well as our leads, NPH, Corddry, Helms and Meloni we get David Krumholtz and Eddie Kaye Thomas returning, Roger Bart is good fun, Beverly D'Angelo is always a pleasure to see onscreen (is there anyone who grew up in the 80s who didn't have a crush on her as Ellen Griswold?) and James Adomian shows a lighter side to George W. Bush.

The sad fact is that this makes some mistakes common to most sequels but, thankfully, it also still has enough to keep things watchable and amusing. Just.


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