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Look out for more coverage of
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

THE STARS:
Kal Penn • John Cho • Rob Corddry • Neil Patrick Harris
DIRECTORS: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg

Wanted poster THE CONCEPT:
Picking up right where the movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (aka Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies) left off, the two friends are preparing for an epic adventure to Amsterdam, so that Harold can win the heart of his neighbor Maria. But Kumar smuggles drugs on the plane, and his ‘bong’ is mistaken for a bomb, and the two are sent to Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. RELEASE: April 25 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

Kal PennKAL PENN (Kumar):
“In the first [movie] we had the munchies. In this film, we’re accused of being terrorists. The stakes are much higher the second time around. Infinitely higher. You learn a lot about Kumar that you didn’t see in the first time around. You didn’t know that Kumar is still in love with is ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. You learn that he really has a sensitive side to him, that he’s not just a player; that he’s got this soft spot for the woman that he loves.”

John ChoJOHN CHO (Harold):
“With the first film we were concerned Kal and I didn’t know each other and we were supposed to be best friends, and we tried to cram in some good get to know you time when we got up to Toronto, where we shot. So it was easier this time, because we’re actually friends now – and much easier because Kal’s drug problems seem to be in check [he laughs].”

Neil Patrick HarrisNEIL PATRICK HARRIS on playing 'himself' again in this film:
“With the first movie I heard through a friend that the film was green-lit and being made, and that I was in it and I knew about it. I didn’t. So I quickly gave my attorney a call to find out if that was legitimate, and got the script. My friend didn’t quite get the joke, so he thought I would be offended and bothered by it, but I thought it was hilarious. This is not really me, this is me playing the version that they wrote of me.”

JOHN CHO:
“This character is sort of my calling card now I guess. People on the street call me Harold all the time, which is funny because it’s based on a real guy, Harold Lee, who is friends with the film makers, and now Harold and I are friends. We had dinner last week and people said, ‘Harold,’ and both of us turned around. It gets a little weird.”

HARRIS on the cult status of the first film:
“They were hoping the first would be Cheech and Chong. I think they were hoping for a franchise. Then the first one just didn’t open as strong as they wanted. The opening weekend is just key to every movie, so everyone shrugged. Then it came out on DVD and people kept watching it and kept talking about it. All of a sudden it was like people forgot that it didn’t do so well in the theatres. Everyone assumed it was a big hit movie. Then it had legs, so I assumed that there might be a sequel.”

PENN:
Harold and Kumar with Bush“Harold and Kumar are Americans first. Before they’re guys, before they’re New Jersians, certainly before they’re Asian or Indian. Before any of that, they’re American. Something you find in this movie is how much they love America, and how ridiculous they find it when they run into people who are scared of them. This is a very pro-American film. The Bush character says that you don’t have to agree with your government to be a good American. You just have to believe in your country. And that’s the message of the movie.”

HARRIS on whether there was ever anything outrageous he refused to do in the movie:
“Yeah, they wanted me to wear some weird mushroom-induced outfit while atop the unicorn. They wanted the vision of me to be in a weird tie-dyed feathered vest. And I said, ‘Come on, no. You’re jumping the shark. Haven’t the bloggers had enough fun with me sitting on a unicorn? Do I really need feathers and a tie-dyed vest?’”

JOHN CHO:
“I thought there would be an audience for the first film, because I felt we made a good movie. I thought there would be a core of people who would dig it. People really like it or they hate it. If this does well, then maybe they’ll talk about a third one. I’m proud of this movie because I feel it’s a true sequel in that we top the first one in every category. The gross out jokes are grosser, there’s more nudity, and we take politics and racial stuff further, so I don’t know what we can do for the third one. I’m really at a loss. Maybe we go backwards and make a cautionary, morality tale from the Middle Ages!!”

Unicorn farewell

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay site
Images above © New Line Cinema
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #696, June 2008 cover

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