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DVD Review

DVD cover

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay


Starring: John Cho and Kal Penn
Entertainment in Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 22 September 2008

Harold and Kumar are preparing for a trip to Amsterdam so that Harold can win the heart of his crush, Maria, while Kumar achieves cannabis bliss. But true to form, trouble begins for the duo before they even board the plane when Kumar runs into his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa, at the airport and discovers that she's about to get married. On board the plan Kumar decides to test his home-made "smokeless" bong pipe in the aeroplane toilet. But, when the toilet door swings open due to turbulence, the bong is mistaken for a bomb and Harold and Kumar are arrested as terrorists and sent off to Guantanamo Bay. They escape within hours and have to stay one step ahead of Homeland Security as they try to prove their innocence...

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is the follow up to Harold & Kumar go to White Castle (2004). The biggest problem with Escape from Guantanamo Bay is that it's just not funny. It's also homophobic and didn't I mention not funny? Okay, that's not strictly true. For those among the viewing audience who don't get the sophisticated humour in My Family, then Escape from Guantanamo Bay will be right up your alley - or at least allow you to understand the "jokes" without someone explaining them to you.

Once Harold and Kumar are arrested, they break out in no time at all, with the rest of the film following the two as they try to get back home in order to prove their innocence. Not that they should have to prove anything as a simple police investigation would conclude that all they'd done was get caught with a bong on a plane... Ah... I feel an alternate title coming on: "Bong on a Plane".

If you haven't seen the first movie, then Neil Patrick Harris's (Doogie Howser, M.D., Starship Troopers) appearance might leave you a little dumbfounded. Harold and Kumar run into him accidentally and while it's understandable that they know him from his TV and movie roles, it's never explained how he knows them). To be honest though, Harris is about the best thing about the movie. It's not that John Cho and Kal Penn aren't good actors, or likeable characters, it's just that the material they have to work with is almost universally poor.

I never thought I'd say this, but this is the first time I've been pleased to see that we'd been sent a disc for review that contained none of the extras. Thankfully that means I didn't have to wade through them - but it also means I can't comment on them.

If the press release is to be believed, if you purchase the DVD you'll get an Audio Commentary with Cho, Penn, Hayden Schlossberd and John Hurwitz; Inside the World of Harold and Kumar featurette; Deleted Scenes; Extras; Bush PSA; and Dude Change the Movie interactive alternate scene option.

This would have been a great film for anyone who isn't old enough to buy porn and wants to see a few scenes of naked women (including a topless lesbian kissing scene). Sadly, with an 18 certificate, I'm scratching my head wondering who will enjoy this - probably the same people who bought, and still watch Showgirls when the house is empty. Everyone else will find it intensely dull. Probably the only stoner movie you'd have to be stoned to truly enjoy.


Nick Smithson

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