Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

When faced with the surprise DVD success of the first Harold & Kumar, the film’s creators were faced with a choice for the sequel: should they try to capture the insane spirit of the original while taking the story in a totally new direction, and risk alienating fans of the first film, or should they pattern the second film as closely as possible to the first film, to the point of reusing many of the same jokes? Well, if you’re wondering, obviously they went with the second. Hollywood isn’t really known for taking chances, after all.

Of course, that having pretty much been a given, the real question isn’t so much “is this as good as the original”, but rather “is this still worth seeing, even though it’s not as good as the original”? Well, it is, so have no fear. The plot is still basically that of a road trip movie, with the addition of them being on the run from the NSA as suspected terrorists. All the same rules apply as in the first film; Harold is uptight and permanently nervous and angry, Kumar is always cheerful and stoned, they go from random sketch to random sketch, Neil Patrick Harris steals the show, etc. There’s even a repeat of Freakshow, as we get another creepy hillbilly with his hot wife inviting them over. The jokes generally work, though its pretty impossible not to feel some amount of déjà vu at it all.

While this isn’t on the same level as the original, it’s still an entertaining enough comedy, and you could do much worse than seeing it. If it tends to repeat itself, then so be it. You could always watch the original again, after all. Trust don’t try to watch them back to back, as it’ll be uncannily like watching the same one twice.

Rating: ** 1/2

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