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HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE
Extreme Unrated Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Anthony Anderson, Fred Willard
Director: Danny Leiner
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 4, 2005

“Do you actually believe that after the way you've just behaved that I would even consider recommending you for admission?”

“No. I'm gonna be honest with you. The only reason I'm applying is so my dad will keep paying for my apartment. I don't have any desire to go to med school.”

“But you have perfect MCAT scores!”

“Yeeeah, just cause you're hung like a moose doesn't mean you gotta do porn.”

Film ***

As far as the stoner comedy is concerned, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think a single film could begin to rival my cherished favorite, 1993’s Dazed and Confused. But such a comedy hasn’t had me laughing it up more than Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, which is just about the best title a drug induced comedy could ever hope to have.

The characters are this generation’s answer to Cheech and Chong, and they’re also a whole lot funnier. Unlike many stoner comedies, this one has many other things to laugh at besides the notion that characters are getting stoned. Harold (John Cho) is an accountant whose frequently conned into doing other people’s work. His roommate, Kumar (Kal Penn) is a slacker who has the potential to do something with his life, but chooses not to.

The plot goes like so: after getting toked up as they do just about every night, Harold and Kumar get a high case of the munchies. They desire a certain type of food. After seeing a commercial for White Castle, it’s clear to them where they need to go. The two then head out on what will be a crazy and unforgettable journey for the both of them.

Along the way, they encounter several bizarre incidents. Perhaps the strangest occurrence is when they pick up a hitchhiker that turns out to be none other than Neil Patrick Harris, who rips on his Doogie Howser persona with hilarious results. Harris, high on Ecstasy, acts extremely horny and steals the two’s car. They also have a run in with an auto mechanic who seems to be sex crazed and Jesus-crazed at the same time.

One smart element is the way the film acknowledges the ethnicity of the lead characters. Harold is an Asian-American, while Kumar is an Indian-American. A great deal of the humor has to do with jokes concerning their race, and the movie is able to get away with it without discouraging any race of people in the process.

All in all, the movie has the perfect ingredients for becoming a pure comedy cult classic. At 90 minutes, the movie is in energetic form, and the laughs are fast and nonstop. The two leads, John Cho and Kal Penn, who’ve both done supporting work in several comedies; Cho in the American Pie movies, Penn in Van Wilder and Malibu’s Most Wanted, and have now hopefully been propelled to the status of big time comedic stars. I think a follow up to the movie is a worthy one.

Like a satisfying meal; such as one from White Castle, I’m sure; Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle hits the spot with hunger killing laughs.

Video ****

This release from New Line boasts a strikingly awesome video presentation. The anamorphic picture delivers consistent clarity, superb brightness, and some kickin’ vibrant colors. The movie may not strike you as visually engaging, but the outstanding handling by the folks at New Line makes it seem so with every frame of the presentation.

Audio ***

The 5.1 mix serves as the perfect tone for a comedy presentation, especially one like this where physical and screwball hijinks play a vital role. Dialogue delivery is significantly clear and precise, the frequent music playback is tremendously heard, and the range amongst the channels is most present. A terrific presentation, all around.

Features ****

In addition to the new footage added for this Extreme Unrated Edition, New Line has stuffed enough goodies onto this disc, resulting in perhaps the first best release of 2005. There are three commentary tracks; one with stars John Cho and Kal Penn and director Danny Leiner; one with writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and a third track titled “Extreme Commentary”. Also included is a featurette titled “The Art of the Fart”, two additional featurettes; “Cast & Crew: Drive-Thru Bites”, “A Trip to the Land of Burgers”, A Back Seat Interview with John Cho, Kal Penn and Bobby Lee, deleted/alternate scenes, extreme outtakes, a music video, and a trailer.

Summary:

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is without a doubt one of the biggest laughfests I’ve had the pleasure of enduring. Those who crave (no pun intended) comedy at its most extreme will find this one filling and ultimately satisfying. See it with a bud (again, no pun intended).

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