Sunday, May 29, 2011

Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle

by DionysusPsyche
Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle is a comedy that follows the one night adventure of a duo on the quest to satisfy their late night hunger.

The weekend opens Friday afternoon in Harold's (John Cho) office. We meet Douche #1 and #2 who decide to blow off the rest of their day and load up "the Asian guy" in accounting with work so they can skedaddle. Harold returns to his abode defeated while his best friend and roommate, Kumar (Kal Penn), encourages him to party and forget about his report that's due the next day. Harold opts to work in the car, and the two heroes escape to their valiant steed for a late night road trip to Whitecastle (a real life burger joint).

Kumar has his own worries, but since he is the Ernie to Harold's Burt, his method of tackling issues involves avoidance instead of the power chug to get through. His father is a prominent doctor who pushes his brainy son to follow in his footsteps despite Kumar's rebellion.

Not Your Average Stoner Comedy
Anyone who's over the age of 10 is aware of the fact that this film is about two stoners on a mission to satiate their need for the munchies. Yet, Harold & Kumar does more than provide laughs. It's not another brainless attempt at stoner amusement. The film's ultimate objective is to put into perspective marijuana and the place of stereotypes.

While the film is guilty of glorifying marijuana to an extent (it still fits the genre), it also dispells myths about those that partake. Both of our main characters are extremely intelligent (Harold is an account and Kumar is going to school to become a doctor) and have jobs/career plans to advance and better their lives. Unlike the pothead concept of sitting inside getting baked, these guys get shit done and take initiative. As opposed to Dude, Where's My Car or Half-Baked, Harold and Kumar try to rise above stereotypes of stoners and racial ignorance. Like older screwball comedies that were conceived in a time where Hollywood enforced rules about what could and couldn't be discussed, Harold and Kumar take a similar route that is not overt and doesn't distract from the movie. Stereotypes can be hilarious, but they are not an end all be all conclusion, especially when taken in a negative, misguided context.

Our heroes address issues and find that there isn't just one thing that defines you. There are a number of ignorant people who will judge you, but it is the individual's job to take the higher road, rise above their misconceptions, and let them know how much you can be. By the end, they learn that talent and intelligence mean so much more than boxed ideas and other people's expectations.

Harold & Kumar is a great movie, and I found the sequel Escape from Guantanamo Bay worthwhile. Both have their fair share of ridiculousness, but the moments of truth define it just as much as its laughs.

No comments:

Post a Comment