review for Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay on AllMovie

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)
by Cammila Collar review

It would be hard for any sequel to live up to the precedent set by what turned out to be one of the best stoner comedies ever made, but Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is thankfully as funny as the original. It's just as raunchy and wild -- extolling the virtues of weed and female genitalia at every opportunity -- but where the first one largely concerned itself with the message of slackerdom, this one is surprisingly subversive, taking unexpected shots at the hypocritical political establishment and the ignorance that perpetuates both sides of the culture wars.

Obviously, the movie paints its commentary in broad strokes, including but not limited to a scene in which Harold and Kumar smoke up with George W. Bush -- who insists that he can't legalize drugs because his dad would freak out. Rob Corddry sends up the scared-stupid, post-9/11 culture of fear particularly well as Secretary of Defense Ron Fox, who throws the film's heroes in Guantanamo Bay on charges of terrorism when Kumar's bong breaks open on a flight to Amsterdam. The script doesn't really call for him to do anything but act pompous and goofy, but he does so really well, especially in a scene where he misses what's going on because he's busy rocking out to "Danger Zone" on his Walkman.

There are almost too many other noteworthy appearances to mention, as our heroes' ADD adventures land them everywhere, from a "bottomless party" (as opposed to a "topless party") to the IKEA-decorated home of an incestuous redneck couple. Especially awesome is Neil Patrick Harris' triumphant return as that terrifying fantasy version of himself that we all sort of hope is real. He doesn't come away unscathed from an encounter with a Louisiana brothel's hot-tempered madam (played by Beverly D'Angelo), but you just can't expect any event in this movie to be less than over the top. (Also, remember to stay until the end of the credits.)