Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)

(On DVD, August 2005) Being one of the world’s most unrepentant fan of director Danny Leiner’s Dude, Where’s My Car?, I expected to like this film. I didn’t expect to like as much as I did, though. Tapping into the same absurd vein than Leiner’s previous “vehicle” (although with far more raunchiness), Harold And Kumar slam-dunks a silly laugh-a-minute comedy mini-classic. It’s about two stoners looking for burgers, sure, but it’s also a fine metaphor for modern man’s search for meaning in a darkened wasteland faintly illuminated by the neon signs of enlightenment. Nah; forget I said that: It’s all about hots chicks, dope jokes and sticking it to The Man. Part of the film’s success rests on the considerable appeal of its two lead actors, John Cho and Kal Penn, as they effortlessly win us over. But it’s Neil Patrick Harris who steals every single scene he’s in, thanks to a madcap caricature of himself, tearing recklessly in a role that demands nothing short of a daredevil comedic streak. (Ryan Reynolds makes a similar impression in a brief cameo). It’s also refreshing to see that the film earns its sold R rating thanks to nudity, profanity and drug usage, giving a black eye to so-called “edgy” PG-13 comedies scrupulously avoiding all three topics. The film’s sly but substantial take on multiculturalism is also noteworthy, and worth celebrating. Superbly entertaining, almost unbearably funny and with its own special brand of wit. Not for everyone, and that’s just great!

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