Anthony's Film Review
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
A movie proving that minority actors can be just as funny and likable...
This movie reuses a plot done many times: young guys go out and get into a lot of mischief involving weirdos, women, and various forms of wackiness. What's definitely different here are the characters. The stars are not two white guys. Instead, they represent youth of two minority groups: Southeast Asians and South Asians. John Cho and Kal Penn are paired together as a Korean-American and an Indian-American who go on this crazy adventure just because they're hungry. When I saw the poster for Harold and Kumar, I knew it would involve some humorous nonsense, but it turns out there's more to it than that.
In the beginning, we see these two guys with stereotypes represented. Harold, like other Southeast Asians, is assumed to love crunching numbers. Kumar is applying for medical school, but nobody else knows that he's not taking it seriously. The first thing that shatters these assumptions is that wonderful drug called marijuana (not that I smoke pot myself). When these guys go home to their apartment, they get high and let the smoke fill the room. One of the effects of marijuana is stimulation of appetite. So when these stoned guys see a commercial for White Castle, they decide that's where they'll go to eat.
Sounds simple enough, except for the fact that they get lost trying to find it. The rest of the movie is a continuous struggle to find a White Castle restaurant and to get themselves out of whatever trouble they get into. They're not simply going back home. Those White Castle burgers must really be that good. So good that Anthony Anderson as an employee at Burget Shack craves that stuff. And many things happen to Harold and Kumar, like being arrested for jaywalking in a complete empty street, having their car stolen by Neil Patrick Harris, meeting twin sisters with diarrhea, getting medical marijuana, and much more.
These two guys are funny and likable. Harold is the uptight guy while Kumar is more of the risk-taker. When you have opposites in a comedic pair, the humor works, because you have two people reacting in different ways to the same situation. You don't simply have two of the same person. And it's nice when you see them work together to get out of the same trouble. Basically, these two guys are memorable characters because they are a comic duo, like an Asian Cheech and Chong.
As long as I'm on the topic of minority portrayal in Hollywood, I might as well mention one of John Cho's previous films: Better Luck Tomorrow. In my review for Better Luck Tomorrow, I wrote that it was intended to bring recognition to Asian-American actors but didn't succeed as well as intended. With Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, I think it can finally happen. John Cho and Kal Penn make the film work, so I hope to see more of these guys and any other Asian actors on the screen.
You know something? Writing this review has made me hungry. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to stop by White Castle to get some Sliders.
For more information about Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, visit the Internet Movie Database.