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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY (2008)

This sequel to the infinitely superior HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE/’04 (a demented ‘stoner’ comedy that played politically subversive possum while disguised as a buddy-buddy/road pic), manages to blunt almost everything that made the first film such giddy, unexpected fun. It’s hard to believe that the co-scripters of WHITE CASTLE had even more control here, hiring themselves to co-meg. Yet, the film plays like an impersonal studio-bred sequel, made without (or even against) imput from the original creative team. From the title on, everything is dumbed-down for lowest-common-denominator consumption, and the loopy tone of the first film is replaced by flop-sweat desperation that spells everything out, coarsening the mischievous, indirect commentary of WHITE CASTLE. Comically speaking, they're preaching to the converted, and it's all too scatologically political (in)correct to shock or amuse. As 30-something collegians, John Cho & Kal Penn manage to retain enough comic camaraderie to generate a few good laughs, but everyone else dies of comic overkill. The pic’s a dispiriting dud.

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