Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movie Review: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Genre: Adventure/ comedy
Directors: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Jack Conley, Roger Bart and others

This is one of the rare comedy movies which had me laughing through and through. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is infused with a heavy dose of satirical humor. A chronicle of the adventures Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) when they get mistaken to be terrorists; arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay following a misunderstanding aboard an international flight. The movie moves very swiftly from this stage, with the protagonists jumping from one hilarious situation into another including an encounter with a one-eyed hillbilly, participating in a Ku Klux Klan meeting, a bottomless party, etc.

The movie starts off with Harold and Kumar on a plane to Amsterdam to meet the formers girlfriend. Meanwhile Kumar has smuggled some weed (Marijuana) along in his invention “a smokeless bong” to enjoy a joint in the aircraft’s bathroom. But this gadget is mistaken for a bomb and air marshals who are part of every international flight tackle the duo and arrest them. Racist and arrogant FBI official Rob Corddry thinks that every colored individual is out to destroy America and should be put behind bars. As per Corddry’s orders the two are blithely shipped off Guantanamo Bay, from where they escape within the first 24 hours. The film’s title is a misnomer though, because the duo escape from Guantanamo bay in the early part of the film.

Naturally FBI is angry, intrigued and wants to get them at any cost. After escaping from Guantanamo Bay the duo get onto a boat along with a crowd of illegal immigrants and land on US soil. Their only hope is Kumar’s ex-girlfriend’s fiancĂ© (Vanessa), who is linked to President George Bush. The duo decides to take help of their Florida-based friend Raza and travel from Florida to Texas where their friend is scheduled to get married.

From here on it is one adventure after another for Harold and Kumar, a series of miscalculations and encounters with the strange. Of course the adventures could be treated as separate and isolated episodes as there is no connection between them. This is kind of refreshing because one doesn’t need to track the story so closely and can just have fun at the theatres. The jokes and pranks would make you hold your sides and laugh. They land up in down town Alabama and bust a fire hydrant and fearing backlash from a group of African-Americans playing ball on the road Harold and Kumar abandon the car and run.

Quite expectedly the FBI is called in and Corddry lands up there and suspects the African-Americans to be hand-in-glove with the terrorists. Meanwhile it gets dark and the duo land up in the middle of a Ku Klux Klan meeting. They succeed in mugging two of the clan members and steal their robes and become part of the meeting for some time. But then they are discovered soon and run for their lives. Another funny sequence is the bottomless party, but I wouldn’t recommend this move to be watched with your family, for the language is quite sharp and below-the-belt humor can be disturbing.

This is definitely a socio-political comedy and everything that the duo come across is portrayed in a mix of sharp and hilarious cultural comedies. It shows the American paranoia that borders on racism and brands everyone colored as uneducated and a potential terrorist. All in all I would give this movie 3.5 out of 5 as an entertainer but surely not a family entertainer. Don’t take your kids to watch it.

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