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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 32.88%
Just Average: 13.7%
Pretty Crappy: 9.59%
Sucks: 2.74%

8 reviews, 98 user ratings

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Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"It's what you crave, comedy-wise."
3 stars

There are three reasons anyone would actually bother eating at White Castle: they are drunk, they are high, or they are insane. Harold and Kumar are in the second category. In the appropriately titled “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle,” two post-college stoners blaze up one Friday night and then, on the way down from their collective buzz, witness a White Castle commercial on TV, forming a craving that no other food (or near-food, in the case of Whiteys) will satisfy. And so their epic night out begins.

That the movie is dumb goes without saying. But is it funny? You betcha. The film is everything “Dude, Where’s My Car?” wanted to be in its lovable dumbness. No surprise, then, that “Harold & Kumar” is directed by Danny Leiner, who also made “Dude.” That was his warm up; “Harold & Kumar” is where he gets it right. Or, at least, right enough to get plenty of laughs.

Where the movie works - other than in its occassional piece of irresistible lunacy - is in its bucking of conventions. For starters, its heroes aren’t your everyday stoners, or even the dimwits we’ve come to expect, but highly intelligent guys who are merely trying to put off the real world for just one more weekend. Harold (John Cho) is stuck in a number-crunching cubicle job; Kumar (Kal Penn) is purposely botching his med school interviews because he doesn’t want to be a doctor but enjoys the free ride his dad gives him as long as he’s applying.

That Harold is Korean and Kumar is Indian is important and unimportant at the same time, and that’s what makes “Harold & Kumar” click so well. These are not stereotypes in the least bit, and yet they’re always running into others who see them as stereotypes. It’s a comedy that plays on expectations and perhaps does a better job at defining the American melting pot than any ultraserious Message Movie ever could.

There are clever bits on race relations and the struggle to keep one’s cultural identity while trying to blend into one’s own twentysomething lifestyle. Harold fears being seen as a “Twinkie” - “yellow on the outside, white on the inside” - but also despises being lumped into the Asian-good-at-math category. As for Kumar, his whole family is made up of surgeons and specialists, and the last thing he wants is to be “just another” Indian doctor. These are characters that want to let their heritage be a part of them, but not that which defines them.

Switching gears, the other sign of smarts is the notion of White Castle as product placement. Sure, you could see this movie as one long ad for Sliders, a sell-out that even takes over the title, but look closely and you’ll see it’s all done with a wink. The characters aren’t just mentioning Whiteys; they’re orating about them, long, poetic speeches praising the glorious taste of White Castle hamburgers. It’s all so goofily over the top that it quickly becomes a parody of the very notion of product placement.

Or maybe I’m just thinking about it too seriously. For this is, after all, a movie that spends an entire scene on a diarrhea joke (which is - surprise - actually kinda funny despite itself). So let’s scoot back from the intellectual stuff and ponder the laughs, which are everywhere. Cho and Penn make a fun comic duo, both of them gifted with a knack for the funny. They carry the picture effortlessly, and we can’t get enough of these likable stoners. (Wisely, they play it less like the stoned obnoxiousness of a Cheech and Chong and more like a huggable dimness of a Wayne and Garth with college degrees.) Leiner keeps the comedy cruising ahead at a quick, enjoyable pace, and the screenplay, by newcomers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, contains enough “what the frick?” moments to keep the yuks unpredictable. (The cameo from Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious, but the one from the I-forgot-he-could-be-this-funny Jamie Kennedy is even better, thanks to its unexpected weirdness.)

The movie doesn’t always click, of course. The movie takes a few too many wrong turns, most notably an extended scene in which our boys come up against a boil-covered backwoods weirdo named Freakshow (Christopher Meloni). It’s too forced a character, too obvious in its attempts for the lowbrow. Other awkward moments pop up like this from time to time, keeping the movie from hitting the high notes (no pun intended) that it almost reaches. Still, there’s a perpetual likability to the film and to the characters that we’re willing to sit through the groaners.

My favorite part of the film has little to do with Harold and Kumar. Throughout the movie, the leads keep running into their neighbors, a couple of Jewish stoners (Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz) who themselves are on a post-buzz quest. It’s as if these guys are in their own movie, an alternate universe version of “Harold & Kumar” that keeps crossing paths with our own, and how smart of the filmmakers to hint at the idea of a parallel story that we never quite see in its entirety. I loved these characters (their early attempts to see a naked Katie Holmes in “The Gift” is a keeper), and what fun it would be to see the other movie some day. “Goldstein & Rosenberg Go To Hot Dog Heaven.” I’d be first in line for that one.

Or at the very least, put them in the “Harold & Kumar” sequel. Those guys demand a second adventure.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9598&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/06/05 12:47:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/22/13 Jeff Wilder Amusing bits. But inconsistent. I like "Friday" a lot better. 2 stars
12/09/12 Simon a rare doesnt-give-a-sh*t movie with mixed relentless obvi gags and understated dialogue 5 stars
2/15/09 Samantha Pruitt very smart and fresh, watch if you want a great laugh! 5 stars
9/10/08 alastair white castle = FAIL !!!!! worse film than madonas 'swept away' 1 stars
7/23/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
7/18/08 Shaun Wallner Harold and Kumar are Hilarious!! 5 stars
6/30/08 Battleshit Contestant ...I'll tell you what...."we're not low"!!!!! Funny as all shit!!!! 5 stars
5/17/08 Jeff Anderson Very, very funny matched greatly by Cho & Penn's easygoing, hilarious & likable perfs! 5 stars
8/12/07 Dk Ashamed this only has a 3 star av. i tihnk it had the best comedy strips in it. even if it 5 stars
5/10/07 nate funniest part was the racoon bitting harold out of no where. 5 stars
3/29/07 fools♫gold I feel as if I'm underrating (I gave Orange County a 5/5), but it'sstillexceptionallycomic. 4 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller No need to be high to laugh uncontrollably at this one - but it don't hurt, brethren. 5 stars
12/16/06 Jim Harold and Kumar weren't the only ones smoking weed! 4 stars
12/07/06 Jj da guy who reviewed dis must be ratarted!!! 3 stars? 5 stars
10/06/06 salvador it was the greatest movie in the whole world 5 stars
8/14/06 Ashley Hinz I really enjoyed it, but would not buy it. 4 stars
4/01/06 JRE soooo stupid, what's with the black dude and the weed? pretty funny though 2 stars
11/30/05 michael g. this was an extremely funny movie!!! 5 stars
11/24/05 shaun wallner this movie was kewl i loved it 5 stars
11/11/05 ME GREAT MOVIE!!! Hilariously funny. 5 stars
10/30/05 anonymous asians are dumb and they eat our dogs. WHITE POWER. 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Aside from the really stupid Cheetah part a funny film 4 stars
8/17/05 sweetgrrl1972 I just about peed myself laughing. The domestic violence part was a buzzkill though. 5 stars
8/16/05 Yazid Best comedy movie ever!! Kal Penn and John Cho did a great job 5 stars
8/08/05 Maalstrom some funny, some not. 3 stars
8/04/05 matt r this movie is "F"ing hilarious. 5 stars
7/26/05 Bad Critic This movie really makes you crave White Castle. The giant bag of weed was hilarious! 4 stars
7/24/05 JFK great dope movie. If I were alive i surely consumed this shit 5 stars
7/19/05 Henry One of my favorite movies, finally some truly funny asian actors to hit america 5 stars
5/26/05 buddy funniest movie ever *nothing* is better! 5 stars
5/25/05 Richa It was hilarious. ne1 says otherwise doesnt noe the value of a stereotypical comedy movie. 5 stars
5/24/05 Minesh bad acting, little laughs, repetitive lines, very disappointed 2 stars
5/22/05 John Cena Totaly Tops 5 stars
4/19/05 Clubber Lang A Few funny scenes, but most of gags simply aren't funny, and the pace is way off 2 stars
4/06/05 Vince Decent stoner flick with a good bunch of laughs 3 stars
3/26/05 indrid cold It's just OK, but the sequence where he fantasizes about the pot bag is hilarious. 3 stars
2/19/05 lj delightfully brainless diversion 3 stars
2/18/05 Sharon Davis Odd, funny movie 4 stars
2/16/05 Carolyn Rathburn stupidly funny, how dense can people be. 3 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Mindless but funny. 3 stars
2/09/05 David Bennett Unlike anything else 4 stars
2/09/05 Daniel James A good movie, although it isn't funny all the time. 4 stars
2/02/05 Graves The rating says it all...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/01/05 Lynde Foy HUsband says its awesome--I beg to differ 2 stars
1/31/05 april gupton it was ok 3 stars
1/31/05 Edward Condon I went in knowing nothing and came out with a huge smile on my face, and not b/c of pot. 4 stars
1/31/05 Kenneth Hannan Waste. Of. Time. 1 stars
1/31/05 Robert Pfeifer The best stoner movie I've Seen Since Up In Smoke!! 4 stars
1/30/05 Dan Funny, dull at sometimes, but funny none the less. 4 stars
1/29/05 bongeezer Some funny bits surrounded by alot of non-funny bits. 2 stars
1/29/05 Caroline As s'one who's never been stoned, and obsessed with PC, it was so ironic that I adore it 5 stars
1/29/05 Fred Pellerito If you liked Dazed and Confused and movies of that genre, you'll love this movie. 4 stars
1/28/05 govenar pretty funny 5 stars
1/28/05 blueviolet A funny, weird, quirky, oddball, raunchy laughfest. 4 stars
1/26/05 NYYFAN Funniest movie of 2004 5 stars
1/16/05 Dan Some funny parts, but on the whole it was boring 2 stars
1/15/05 Jupe very very funny 5 stars
1/14/05 Devin Knox good 5 stars
11/14/04 Faith GREAT DAMN STONER FLICK 5 stars
10/24/04 hudson doesn't get much better 5 stars
9/16/04 Hilary Adamson Wow! If only I could shit as shamelessly as those giddy "diarrhea twins". What a life! 4 stars
9/15/04 Tiffany Thunderhurst Not quite as good as WHITE CHICKS, but similar farcical comedy. 4 stars
9/15/04 Robyn Jamil-Walid EricD, how did "horrific bathroom experience" (my favorite part) not trash it all for you? 4 stars
9/02/04 Deepdish I collapsed on the cinema aisle and nearly choked on my popcorn and coke laughing 5 stars
8/24/04 Eric Sun The best movie to help asian guys with low self-esteem.Very funny! 5 stars
8/23/04 Ed fun fare 5 stars
8/20/04 L Wilson I took two friends, one woman 85 who doesn't love the F word, but they loved the movie 5 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Much better then I was expecting after seeing the trailer 4 stars
8/14/04 ben r funny as hell 5 stars
8/13/04 Obi Wan Very funny...about time the MILF kid got more screen time!! 5 stars
8/11/04 Jason Dow Totally funny . . .i was inspired 5 stars
8/11/04 kc about time the B class asian actors starred in their own movie, it was damn hilarious 5 stars
8/09/04 Darren Shea possibly the smartest stoner movie, ever. I want to see H&K Go To Amsterdam 5 stars
8/09/04 Dro If you Blitzed out or Jus CHillin watch this Movie! 5 stars
8/09/04 Kate Funniest movie I've seen since Super Troopers...made me crave some White Castle 5 stars
8/06/04 Gal Great stoner classic! 5 stars
8/06/04 nick2k i want sequel now...damn funny. bring anderson, harris, kennedy, & meloni along too! 5 stars
8/05/04 Terence This movie is by far the funniest movie so far this year 5 stars
8/05/04 Erik This movie was dope, a must see. I don't care who you are, you'll laugh your ass off. 5 stars
8/03/04 cbort hilarious 5 stars
8/03/04 KingNeutron Funny enough for non-stoners. 3 stars
8/02/04 carlos r guzman shitty but a must-see, penn and cho should do more films 2 stars
8/02/04 Jay I'm not a stoner, but I enjoyed this flick 4 stars
8/02/04 dredphul stupid but soo funny 4 stars
8/01/04 ajay there's a fine line between stupid and so stupid it's funny. This movie is the latter. 4 stars
8/01/04 Brad Pretty funny movie! 4 stars
7/31/04 Kumar Kicks ass awesome flick dude 5 stars
7/30/04 john akers harold and kumar is the funniest movie in a couple months 5 stars
7/28/04 Carter Davis Hilarious. Go see this movie. 5 stars
7/26/04 J.D. Semlow Very, very, funny most of the time. 4 stars
7/23/04 Mix Master Mason Everything you need to know about this turd is on the poster, way too PC for me... 1 stars
7/12/04 Ilene Jaffe Great film - smart and very funny 5 stars
6/21/04 Barry Simpson One of the Funniest Movies I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
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  30-Jul-2004 (R)
  DVD: 04-Jan-2005


  23-Sep-2004 (MA)

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