Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

on July 30, 2004 by Wade Major
Having nearly lobotomized audiences with the stupidity of "Dude, Where's My Car?," director Danny Leiner is back to finish the job with the even more sophomoric "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."

The plot this time around is roughly the same as the plot the last time around, with a pair of overachieving minority burnouts (John Cho and Kal Penn) standing in for the underachieving white burnouts ("Dude" stars Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott). By day, Harold (Cho) is a Korean-American financial analyst for a New York investment banking firm while Kumar (Penn) is the promising pre-med son of a prominent surgeon. By night, they're weed-smoking losers. On this particular night, however, they decide to feed their munchies with something special--White Castle hamburgers. But the simple task of locating a White Castle franchise soon turns into an "After Hours"-type nightmare during which the duo are forced to deal with crazy redneck skateboarders, a psychotic police officer, a boil-ridden tow truck driver, an escaped cheetah and a drugged-up, sex-crazed Neal Patrick Harris. Just for starters.

Assorted cameos from noteworthy actors and comics who should know better really don't help. To calculate this film's prospective audience, one would need to resort to negative denominators, theoretically placing the movie and its audience into some sort of alien dimension.

If only.

The sad reality is that the picture exists in this dimension where it will, for the space of far too many weeks, torment and agonize average, innocent Americans by its very existence. While Leiner bears considerable blame for the fiasco, it's first-time writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg whom audiences should hold most accountable. Subscribing to the frat house philosophy that the funniest humor is that which is racist, sexist or in any way centered on sex, drugs and bodily functions, Hurwitz and Schlossberg have concocted what may very well be the single worst piece of writing ever inflicted on pulped wood.

If there's a hint of a silver lining anywhere in this dreadful debacle, it's that stars Penn and Cho actually do have some talent, suggesting that had the film been cast differently it might (horror of horrors) have been even worse. Starring Jon Cho, Kal Penn and Malin Akerman. Directed by Danny Leiner. Written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. Produced by Greg Shapiro. A New Line release. Comedy. Rated R for strong language, sexual content, drug use and some crude humor. Running time: 88 min

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