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PCR #423 (Vol. 9, No. 18) This edition is for the week of April 28--May 4, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay"  by Mike Smith
Comic Book Confidential: JLA ‘74  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Goes to the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image  by Lisa Ciurro
Clemons...Rays...Bucs...and more by Chris Munger
Wedding Day .... 18 Years .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
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Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn and Rob Corddry
Directed by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Scholssberg
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 42 mins

In 1983, the film “Eddie and the Cruisers” hit theatres...to no business. The next year, thanks to cable television and home video, the soundtrack hit #1 on the charts and, in 1989, the film “Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!” was released. Also to no business. I mention this because in 2004 a little film called “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” opened and closed in a few weeks. However, thanks to home video, it has become a cult classic, like “Office Space” and “The Big Lebowski.” And while those two films have yet to have a sequel, this week we are being treated to “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.”

Picking up where “White Castle” left off, our new film finds our two stoner pals planning a trip to the drug capital of the world, Amsterdam. While readying for their trip we discover that our boys are still looking for love. Harold (Cho) is still pining for Maria (Paula Garces) while Kumar (Penn) is still mad at himself for breaking up with Vanessa (Danneel Harris) two years ago. Coincidentally, they run into Vanessa at the airport and learn she is engaged to a young political wannabe with friends in the current administration. As they go through security, Kumar is “randomly” selected to be searched and, once on board, is seen as a terrorist by an elderly passenger. Kumar smuggles a bong on board but, when he pulls it out, it is mistaken for a bomb and soon our dynamic duo find themselves at Gitmo. For about seven minutes, after which they escape pretty easily. The rest of the film finds them visiting every stereotypical town in this country as they head to Texas in an attempt to clear their names.

There is a great scene in “My Favorite Year” where Joe Bologna, as the host of a weekly television show, crumples up a script, hands it to his assistant, yells “PULL” and then, “BOOM,” “shoots” it out of the sky. “What a stink burger,” he declares. Too bad Joe wasn’t around to read the pages for this one. Apparently the writers are still in 2004, because they don’t understand that in the days of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad”…even this past week’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”…people that go to an adult comedy want more then fart jokes. And to be honest, this movie actually BEGINS with one. Which is a shame, because the cast seem to be trying their best. Cho and Penn have a very natural rapport, one that makes you stick around with them on their adventures. As the federal agent investigating their “bomb,” Corddry plays on every prejudice known to catch his two fugitives. Whether spilling grape soda to upset an African-American witness to pouring a sack full of pennies out to goad a couple of Jewish suspects, Corddry seems to be enjoying himself and the role. Special mention goes to James Adomian, who does an incredible impression of our 43rd president. But the scene stealer here, as in the first film, is actor Neil Patrick Harris, who does a great cameo as, well, actor Neil Patrick Harris. But even Doogie Howser and his imaginary unicorns can’t save this film.

A comedy that isn’t as funny as it thinks it is, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay”

This week's movie review of "Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.