For more movie summaries, see Kam's
(Photo by Sophie Giraud, © 2004 New Line Productions, all rights
NOBODY TO GO MY BAIL: Harold
(John Cho, left), entreats his friend Kumar (Kal Penn) to come
up with a scheme to get himself out of jail.end
& Kumar Go to White Castle": Jersey Road Film Follows
Famished Nerds on Wild Night Out
by Kam Williams
At first blush, Harold & Kumar Go
to White Castle sounds like your average teen movie, since
it borrows its basic elements from such memorable comedy classics
as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cheech & Chong's Up
in Smoke and Office Space. This madcap film revolves
around the day-in-the-life road adventures of a couple of friends
criss-crossing New Jersey in search of their favorite fast-food
The picture's plot resembles that of Dude,
Where's My Car, which was also directed by Danny Leiner. Instead
of a pair of pot smoking, lobotomized losers, Leiner's protagonists
are two academic overachievers who share the same recreational
Korean-American Harold (John Cho) is an
exploited, under-appreciated, yuppie investment banker, while
his Indian-American roommate, Kumar, is a nerd who is half-heartedly
applying to medical school because of parental pressure to follow
in his father's footsteps.
The fun starts in Harold and
Kumar's Hoboken apartment one Friday evening when they decide
to unwind by smoking some marijuana in front of the TV. Each develops
a case of the munchies after watching a mouthwatering commercial
for White Castle. They both crave the delectable burgers so much
that nothing else can satiate their hunger.
Kumar Go to White Castle is an over-the-top romp which rehashes
lots of drug jokes, but strays from the tried-and-true teen formula.
What makes this film different is its presentation from the novel
perspective of first-generation children of immigrants from minority
groups that are usually marginalized by Hollywood.
probably seen Penn and Cho before, but in limited roles as stereotypical
Indian and Asian characters, respectively. Kal, who has appeared
in 20 movies, was unforgettable as Taj Majal, the scene-stealing
second banana in National Lampoon's Van Wilder. He has
also enjoyed bit roles playing people with names like Ajay, Sanjay,
Mohan, Hadji, Jagdesh, Najaran, Prajeeb and Fez Boy.
who distinguished himself in recurring cameos in the American
Pie trilogy, has appeared in minor roles as people called
Fengmo, Trung, Wo Chin, Chang, Quon, and so forth. In this film,
he is able to blossom into a fully fleshed-out person as Harold,
Kumar's straight man.
The journey has our hapless heroes
careening all about the State of New Jersey from Hoboken, Newark,
Freehold, Princeton, Cherry Hill, and parts betwixt and between.
Every encounter is invariably bizarre, whether witnessing a robbery
in the ghetto, crashing a party on an elite campus, or being teased
mercilessly at a convenience store.
After an absurd scene,
when they are inexplicably carjacked by Neil Patrick Harris, they
hop onto the back of a cheetah which conveniently happens to be
passing by. Additional cast members include Anthony Anderson,
Jamie Kennedy, and Fred Willard.
Sometimes getting there
is all the fun, and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
is a kooky case in point.
Excellent (4 stars). Rated R for
profanity, sexuality, nudity, crude humor, ethnic jokes, and violence.
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