Film Review: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantànamo Bay

2008-06-29 00:00

This is the second film in the Harold and Kumar franchise, and like the first, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, is redeemed from sub-stupid jokes and an obsession with bodily functions by its sharp satire of American racial politics. Guantànamo Bay picks up 20 minutes after White Castle ended, as the likeable buddies are about to set off for Amsterdam in pursuit of a girl.

However, due to a combination of racial profiling and Kumar’s stupidity, they are mistaken for terrorists and packed off to the notorious prison in Guantànamo Bay, Cuba.

They manage to escape pretty quickly, though, and when they’re back on American soil, have to head to Texas, where Kumar’s ex-girlfriend’s fiancé can get their names cleared.

On the way, the two fugitives encounter inbred rednecks, Klanners, spirited prostitutes and Doogie Howser (again), while rediscovering their friendship. But of course the FBI is in hot pursuit, lead by the pompous Ron Fox, who stands for the worst in America’s policy towards minorities and foreigners.

The best moments of this film are, like its predecessor, when it’s ripping off right-wing attitudes towards Muslims, Jews, blacks — pretty much anyone not a white American. It’s a pity, then, that they couldn’t extend this attitude to gender politics, and had to pander to their market and present 99% of the women in the movie as a parade of Playboy fantasies.

I found even the endless fart and masturbation jokes, which start two minutes into the movie, more palatable. Still, there are some laughs to be had and this is certainly a cut above the rest of the gross-out comedy genre.

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