Trilogy Review: Harold & Kumar

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Release Date: July 30, 2004

Director: Danny Leiner

Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Ethan Embry

Runtime: 88 min

Tagline: Fast Food. High Times.

An Asian-American office worker and his Indian-American stoner friend embark on a quest to satisfy their desire for White Castle burgers.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle brought on one heck of a comedy trilogy. It has quite a few things to its advantage: sexy women; two great primary characters that one can really relate to; hilarious antics and a bunch of laughs; a great adventure; a simple but extremely effective plot; and lots of marijuana. It does have its fair share of stupidity, but there’s a lot to like. One thing that’s great is its cameo from Neil Patrick Harris. The film never really drags on, and you want these characters to fulfill their wicked hunger. It also may make the viewer quite hungry. Unlike some films like Beerfest, that deal heavily with drugs and alcohol, you won’t have to be under any influence to actually have a good time with this.



Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Release Date: April 25, 2008

Director: John Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris

Runtime: 107 min

Tagline: This time they’re running from the joint.

Follows the cross-country adventures of the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun idiotic authorities (mostly the over-the-top Rob Corddry) who suspect them of being terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board their flight to Amsterdam.

It’s a little bit sillier, a little bit longer, and a little bit cruder. It is inferior to the first, but it’s nonetheless still enjoyable. It drags on in a few areas and it’s more of the same ridiculous antics, and there’s a really ridiculous antagonist, but H&K are still the characters we know and love. Layers are given to the character of Kumar by bringing in an ex college girlfriend. We can now see Kumar as even more real, and relate to him the same way we do with the more ordinary Harold. The one thing that’s funnier than the first is NPH’s extended cameo, where we learn that NPH isn’t an acronym for Neil Patrick Harris, but an acronym for Neil Poon Handler. I guess I’ve been saying it wrong all these years…



A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Release Date: November 4, 2011
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
Runtime: 90 min
Tagline: Christmas comes prematurely

Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.

The stoner duos are back… but in unnecessary 3D! Seriously, the effects are quite gimmicky – it’s just stuff getting thrown at the screen. That aside, this is actually quite hysterical and it returns it to the great quality of the first flick. The audience hasn’t missed much of their relationship since Guantanamo, because their friendship ties were cut for quite a while. As Harold and Kumar rekindle their friendship, the audience is joining in as the peanut gallery and watching them go back to their usual hysterical antics. There’s more drugs, some more sexy scenes, and it’s funnier than the second. There’s a sweet claymation sequence that had me laughing quite hard. The 3D is pretty lame, and Harris’ cameo this time isn’t amazing, but it’s still pretty good. There’s a poor scene here and there, but most scenes are grand. It’s a film that isn’t afraid to be silly and it has a few great homages to A Christmas Story. It restored my faith in the trilogy, and I certainly wouldn’t say no to a fourth installment.


6 thoughts on “Trilogy Review: Harold & Kumar

    1. The third is much easier to get through than the second. If you’re sceptical about it, though, maybe rent it. It makes for a pretty good and crude Christmas comedy. I won’t try to sell you on it, or anything 😉

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