Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Harold and Kumar's second stoner adventure gets them incarcerated at Gitmo after they carry a bong on a plane and people mistake it for a bomb. They break free immediately, so the film is not really about Gitmo at all. The real plot is about their trek to Texas to disrupt the wedding of Kumar's ex-girlfriend. During their peregrinations they encounter various comic adventures while Homeland Security follows their trail.

This episodic flick has quite a high rating at IMDb, which is surprising for a stoner film, but I was lukewarm toward it, despite the fact that I like stoner humor and enjoyed the film's predecessor.

Why? Well, if you think about the great lowbrow comedies like There's Something About Mary and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, you will realize that they have certain things in common:

  • an involving story which could stand on its own without the surrounding farce
  • memorable comic characters
  • some laugh-out-loud moments
  • originality in the raunchy bits
  • heart
  • a touch of art and imagination

This film comes up short on too many of those requirements.  There are no big guffaws, the story is completely uninvolving, and the sentimental moments are totally forced. In fact, it wouldn't even be fun to watch stoned, because Harold spends more than half of the movie being a wet blanket, grousing about Kumar's irresponsibility and inability to apologize. What the hell kind of stoner is this guy? Dude, chill out. Your buddy is a stoner. Of course he's irresponsible. It's you, the uptight stoner, who doesn't seem to fit in the picture! Harold is the kind of guy who wants to get baked so he can dust the furniture and study the tax tables. To be honest, this film's version of Kumar is also too uptight to be a lovable stoner, albeit in a different way. He's always turning every situation into a confrontation of some kind instead of just takin' 'er easy. This Dude does not abide.

The greatest weakness of the film is that it simply lacks originality and imagination. It's not unpleasant to watch, but I felt I had seen it all before. Most of the humor consists of the same old tired jokes about the same old subjects: unpleasant bodily functions, petty government bureaucrats, prison rape, inbred rednecks, tough-looking guys who turn out to be sensitive, and so forth. The best ideas were lifted from the first H&K movie.

I did enjoy the sound track, especially a raunchy song called "My Dick, and the film does have one memorable comic character: Neil Patrick Harris, who plays himself in this sequel, as he did in the original, and is even crazier this time around. Harris-as-Harris, wacked-out druggie and pervert with a monumental ego, is absolutely brilliant every minute he is on screen. The people who created this film should have made Harris the star, because his fictional alter ego is the Hamlet of druggies, madness and all, while Harold and Kumar are merely the Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Unfortunately, Hamlet is relegated to a walk-on.




widescreen anamorphic

unrated version of the film

two-disk set:

* audio commentary;

* featurette;

* deleted scenes;

* bonus digital copy.


2.5 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
55 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
57 Metacritic.com (of 100)


7.4  IMDB summary (Original: 7.2)
B  Yahoo Movies (same as the original)


Box Office Mojo. It took in a respectable $38 million on 2500 screens.


The film has a monumental amount of female nudity, plus a comical male full frontal from Amir Talai and buns from John Cho and Kal Penn, which are body doubles.

I suppose there may be 100 beautiful, firm young women who are completely naked below the waist at a "bottomless party" crashed by the two stars. Unfortunately, the buns and bushes are all supplied by anonymous extras except for Marisa Belinda and Claudia Pena.

There are also two topless hookers in a bordello scene: Ava Santana and Chantal Silvain

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:

C- (genre appeal only)