Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
ehh..I tried.

I think I’ve seen Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle at least two or three times now, and I’ve tried so hard every time to understand it a little more and to have a little piece of me enjoy it. I think I hated it the first time, kind of understood it the second time, and this time I definitely understand most of it in regards to plot and undertones…but my level of enjoyment hasn’t even altered a little. I find it slightly funny, but not to the extremes the general public does. Let’s break it down, which won’t be too difficult.

Right, well Harold is a responsible Asian man that likes to have fun once in a while. Kumar is an irresponsible Indian fellow that doesn’t even believe in having anything less than fun all of the time. These two are friends, and on one night when they smoke pot together, they get the munchies. After a White Castle TV commercial airs, they decide to go to White Castle that night, or die trying. Along the way, they are stopped way too many times by obstacles that are smothered in over-the-top racial stereotypes, pot humor, sex, and bathroom jokes.

In short, the plot goes very little beyond the self-explanatory title. The reason I tried so hard to like the film, is because I know my tastes don’t exactly include pot comedies. There are some I do like, but most of the time…it’s just not my thing. I can’t get into it because they keep seeming like films clearly aiming for not only a 420-friendly audience, but an audience that is currently high while watching it. That, I can understand. I have nothing against marijuana, honestly, but I wasn’t high when watching, so it doesn’t affect me the same way. That being said, there are things I can respect about it, which is why my rating wasn’t as bad as what I’d give it for how I felt about it in general.

I can respect a lot of where the inspiration for comedy derived from, and that is the fact that it is a subtle social satire, yikes, say that three times fast. It went into important issues like racial stereotypes by exaggerating the truth. Police are so blinded by their racist nature that Harold & Kumar escape the jail with a huge bag of weed. Society thinks weed is so bad for you that one hit will instantly make you commit suicide. I did catch these messages, but not everyone will…I mean they are so drowned out by being over-the-top that it’s not exactly obvious and almost feels like grasping for straws by even mentioning it.

I also really love random humor, and I know others do as well. These are reasons for making my rating higher than it normally would be, but the fact is…the humor didn’t work as well on me as it does others. Those random jokes worked about one-third to half the time for me. I partially don’t get the film because I’ve never once cared about White Castle. The film is an hour and a half commercial for the thing, and it didn’t even start to peak my interest.

All in all, I can partially see why you guys like it…it’s just not my thing. My ratings are partially based on how I feel about it and the recognition that the general population actually likes it. It’s not too bad, but I think I’ve seen better from pot comedies.

The Good:
Honestly, Kal Penn and John Cho are fabulous together. I won’t even begin to pretend that they aren’t. Too many films have a duo of a white and black guy, or a white guy and girl, or someone else who is white in the duo. A duo of an Asian and Indian guy is priceless, and their proven ability to bicker randomly while acting high is perfect. The hidden subtlety of satirical plots is really important.

The Bad:
Mostly from my preferences – there wasn’t enough real emotion coming from…anyone, really. The plot itself involves a restaurant widely-known for its ability to send you to the bathroom, and one that I care very little about. I just didn’t care for most of what I watched.

Memorable Quote:

Harold: Dude, we’re so high right now!

Kumar: We’re not low!

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