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A few days ago, I went to go see “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.” Really, just looking at the title I figured it would be shitty, but a friend texted me and said she thought it could be a fun study break. And besides, movies are only $10 and it’s like an hour and a half long. Sounds like a pretty safe decision. Right?
Wrong. This sounds snobby, I know, but to even review this movie almost feels beneath my dignity. The only reason why I can even bring myself to do this review is because Harold & Kumar is the angriest a movie has made me in years. To paraphrase a good friend of mine, who said that “How I Met Your Mother” is “one Neil Patrick Harris away from a shitty sitcom,” this movie was one Neil Patrick Harris away from the worst movie of the century. And maybe he didn’t even save it.
Let’s start off with some of the lighter misdemeanors the movie commits. Every time somebody got punched in the stomach (which happened far too often) it was accompanied by a fart noise. Inmates at Guantanamo Bay eat cock meat sandwiches for their meals, evidently, which played out in an entirely pointless scene where a group of guards came in and told some unconvincing “hardened terrorists,” and our protagonists Harold & Kumar, to “get sucking.” At a completely unnecessary “bottomless party,” a male friend walks from the water and Kumar yells that his pubes “look like Osama bin Laden’s beard.”
And Rob Cordry? Horrendous acting aside, his “racist Homeland Security Officer” character might have come off as quality satire to middle schoolers who get their foreign policy news from Green Day songs, but anybody else it’ll just come off as annoyingly contrived. His death satisfied me more than any comedy casualty in history, probably because I knew that the miserable Homeland Securityplot line was gone, never to return.
Now for the cinematic war crimes. Attention Everybody: Spoilers to follow. To be honest, though, the movie is so thoroughly rotten there’s no way I could spoil it for you. The characters are all completely two dimensional. Even Harold & Kumar, who managed to pull off some degree of likeability and depth in their first film, completely lost it in this one. I didn’t give a shit one way or the other what happened to them, or to any other characters in the movie. When Kumar interrupted his ex-girlfriend’s marriage, it made me happy the way that reading a news report about a car accident two states away makes you sad. The only thing that aroused any genuine emotion was when Neil Patrick Harris died after 15 minutes in the movie. Seriously? Why did they do that? Killing NPH literally killed all the funny.
Some people liked it, evidently. One reviewer from MSNBC wrote that Escape “[A]ctually scores more points off the nation’s paranoid and repressive post-9/11 mindset than all of Hollywood’s hand-wringing war-on-terror dramas put together.” In the same review, he had the audacity to compare this movie with Dr. Strangelove. In his warped mind, John Cho and Kal Penn are to George Bush and the War on Terror what Slim Pickens and Peter Sellers were to the Cold War.
When I was looking around for other reviews of this movie, I also found this. “Postal” only saw a limited release in the United States, but its most famous actor is Verne Troyer, which I feel really explains everything. What’s more, movies inspired by video games aren’t worth the DVDs they’re burned on, or even the bandwidth it would take to download them. This one claims to be more than just a video game movie, “lampooning religious extremists, minorities, bureaucrats, immigrants, cops, women, the Holocaust, gun nuts and more with evenhanded abandon.”
Really? Verne Troyer headlines a movie in which characters dressed like George Bush and Osama bin Laden hug it out after some other B-list actors poke fun at the Holocaust?
Save yourself the hassle, put the War on Terror and all the rest of America’s problems (which, really, aren’t all that funny) aside for the moment, and laugh at Seth Rogen and crew in Pineapple Express or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. If you still insist on watching either of these movies, at least consider the last ditch alternative: you might be better served flushing eleven dollars down the toilet and smashing your head against a wall for two hours.
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