SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW Review: Harold & Kumar 2
by Alex Billington
March 8, 2008
In this day and age, comedies seem to have a form that they all follow. The jokes are getting more and more bland and the stories worse and worse. To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything but the same old crap with Harold & Kumar 2: Escape from Guantanamo Bay. And to be honest, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's a dumb stoner comedy to the core that never deviates from that ideal, and yet I still laughed all the way through. It may not top the first Harold & Kumar, but it is a perfect compliment to it that I think everyone who loved that one will enjoy.
In every step of the story, Harold & Kumar 2 breaks every rule and expectation. The jokes they setup are designed to make you think one thing is going to happen, when something else does. It moves quickly from one ridiculous incident to another, and travels from New Jersey to Florida to Texas all in 90 minutes of time. While it still is the pot smoker comedy that everyone loves, it has heart and a mainstream hilarity that you don't need to be stoned to enjoy. I may even be hard pressed to say that it might rank up there as one of the better comedies of the year.
I wouldn't say that the filmmaking is good, and I might even hardly say that the writing is good; instead, Harold & Kumar 2 is made up entirely of two over-the-top performances by Kal Penn and John Cho. It's these two perfectly balanced and yet ridiculously cliché characters that allow the film to succeed. And laugh you will, plenty of times, that's for certain. All I need to say at the end - the unicorn rules all!