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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO

SYNOPSIS:
Buddies Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are going to Amsterdam to find the girl of Harold's dreams, but Kumar can't wait to get there and packs his own 'smoke-less' bong onto the plane. Mistaken for terrorists, they are taken as prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, but escape headed for Texas to enlist the help of politically connected Colton Graham (Eric Winter), who is about to marry Kumar's ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris). Harold and Kumar make unlikely friends along the way but with Deputy Chief of Homeland Security Ron Fox (Rob Corddry) hot on their heels, Kumar has more important things on his mind: he is now intent on breaking up Vanessa's wedding.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's not my cup of tea, but fans of Harold and Kumar will find enough to amuse them in this crass, low-brow stoner comedy sequel, in which politics and racial discrimination have centre stage. Much of the film is hit and miss as far as the humour is concerned, but the core endearing relationship between John Cho's Harold and Kal Penn's Kumar is its greatest asset.

The film picks up where the last one left off, although if, like me, you missed their trip to White Castle, it matters little. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg also direct this time as Kumar's antics with a home made bong on a plane to Amsterdam, prompt them to be put under lock and key in Guantanamo Bay. After narrowly avoiding a 'cock-meat sandwich' (don't ask!), they begin their road trip amidst much weed smoking and encounters that include a deranged deer hunter, a gang in the deep south, a unicorn-hallucinating magic mushroom muncher, a brothel Madam with a shotgun and the weed-smoking Ku Klux Clan. They drop their dacks at a 'bottom-less' pool party where leggy girls with manicured pubes parade their wares, before the unexpected 'drop-in' to Camp David where George W (James Adomian, uncannily excellent) is portrayed as a weed-smoking pothead who spits out expletives to his father on the phone.

There's an abundance of toilet humour, masturbation, oral sex and fantasies about threesomes with an oversized bag of weed. It's funny in parts and there are some inventive ideas when it comes to the politically incorrect racial and religious slurs. The plot does come together in the end, although the focus is always on the relationship between the two 'odd couple' buddies. The target market will no doubt be primed, and by delivering what is expected, the filmmakers have overall succeeded in their mission.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO (MA15+)
(US, 2008)

CAST: John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Neil Patrick Harris, Danneel Harris, Eric Winter, James Adioan

PRODUCER: Greg Shapiro

DIRECTOR: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

SCRIPT: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daryn Okada

EDITOR: Jeff Freeman

MUSIC: George S. Clinton

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Fanning

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 7, 2008







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