Beginning precisely where Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
left off, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
takes the film franchise in a more boorish and spuriously topical direction. Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) take an ill-fated flight to Amsterdam, during which Kumar's suspicious-looking bong is mistaken for a bomb. Their arrest prompts a wild-eyed, racist Homeland Security nut (Rob Corddry) to send the boys to indefinite lockup at Guantanamo Bay, where beefy guards sexually subjugate "enemy combatants." The duo manage to get away and make it back to the U.S., hoping the well-connected fiance (Eric Winter) of Kumar's old girlfriend, Vanessa (Danneel Harris), can get them out of their mess. During a dangerous and grotesque odyssey to Texas (where Vanessa is marrying her rich and vain boyfriend, much to Kumar's dismay), Harold and Kumar have episodic encounters with the Ku Klux Klan, a one-eyed, inbred monster, and old friend Neil Patrick Harris (as himself), who swallows fistfuls of magic mushrooms and drags the boys to a brothel stop that goes terribly wrong.
The desultory comedy strikes a lowbrow tone from its opening scene (Harold takes a shower while Kumar has a diarrhea attack) and doesn't get much more interesting than that. If there's a bodily fluid that doesn't rate a joke in Guantanamo Bay, it doesn't exist. The persistent sight gags about weed (including a smoky visit with President Bush) never reach the kind of giddy pitch that pot humor requires, leaving a lot of the film's comedy just hanging like dead space. The sequel's attempt to say something, albeit in a gross way, about the state of the country during the Bush years is obvious and empty. Really, there isn't a lot of reason for Guantanamo Bay to have been made, except to print money. --Tom Keogh