If you’re a fan of stoner comedy, then you’ll want to check out the Harold and Kumar franchise. Starring John Cho and Kal Penn, this series follows a pair of stoners on outlandish adventures throughout New Jersey.
The first film in the series, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was released in 2004. It was directed by Danny Leiner and written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. It starred John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris.
Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and irrepressible stoner Kumar (Kal Penn) embark on a frenzied quest for White Castle sliders in this hilarious romp through New Jersey. Along the way they run into a gang of extreme sports punks, a raccoon, a group of East Asian nerds, a racist police department, and an out-of-control Neil Patrick Harris.
Even a slew of homosexuals make sexual overtures to Kumar, including two topless women sprouting from the sunroof of a hang-glider. Homosexuals also try to seduce him in a bar and at a strip club, where he gets a taste of the real thing.
In their apartment complex, a girl named Maria (Danneel Ackles) makes a romantic gesture toward Kumar and he dreams about making out with her. The movie is filled with witty dialogue and absurd moments that are sure to entertain anyone who’s looking for some lighthearted fun.
One of the main points of this film is that it shows that not all nerds are straight-laced and neat-freaks. In fact, Kumar and Harold are the opposite of this stereotype. They are sloppy, unorganized, and a little bit irresponsible in their actions, but they care about each other and will do anything to get the other one what they want.
They are even willing to go out of their way to get what they want, as seen when they drive to Princeton and stop at the raccoon sanctuary to feed them a hot dog, or when they go to a hospital to score marijuana. They also get mistaken for surgeons, have a car broken down and a deformed mechanic fix it, run into Neil Patrick Harris, and are chased by a cheetah.
While this is a comedy, it does touch on a number of serious social issues, including racism, drug use, and sex. In the first film, a pair of douchebag white co-workers saddle Harold with their work so they can go out and party.
The movie also features a scene in which a woman at a wedding is betrayed by her fiancé, a snobbish rich guy. When the couple tries to leave, Kumar recites a poem he wrote in college that he always felt too ashamed to show her.
Harold and Kumar are the two main characters in the series. They are Korean American (Harold) and Indian American (Kumar) stoners who get a case of the munchies and embark on a quest to find White Castle burgers after seeing them advertised in TV.
They have many obstacles in their quest including a gang of extreme sports punks, a raccoon with attitude, East Asian nerds, racist police officers, and a cheetah that has escaped from a zoo. But they manage to survive and get what they want despite all of their setbacks.
While both of them are portrayed as butt monkeys, they have more in common than their nerdyness and their obsession with drugs. Their mutual hatred of their father, a macho man who resents Harold for his nerdyness, is one of the driving forces in their journey to White Castle.
Another aspect of their character that is unique to them is their relationship with women. While Harold is timid and shy when talking to Maria, he has a crush on her that he is unable to express. He also has a relationship with Cindy Kim, a conservative woman with a judgmental and career-oriented attitude who constantly tries to get Harold to join her Asian students club at the university.
But, even in the face of their adversities, they are able to maintain their friendship. In fact, in the first film they become best friends.
Their relationship is a key element of the films and shows that they are not afraid to take risks and step outside their comfort zone. Often, this is the only way they can get what they need.
In the second film, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the duo crash Vanessa’s wedding so that they can tell her how Colten betrayed them and profess their love to her. After Colten is knocked down, they leave the ceremony together as a couple.
In the final movie, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, the two friends reconnect and embark on a quest to find a new Christmas tree for Harold’s apartment. It turns out that a package of marijuana they received from Santa Claus has destroyed the tree and it is up to them to find a replacement. They have to fight through a lot of trouble along the way, including an attack by a raccoon and Neil Patrick Harris.
In a world of racial stereotypes, Harold and Kumar’s adventures in White Castle are a refreshing reminder that we don’t have to be racist to have fun. It’s also a surprisingly socially optimistic film that makes use of its characters’ strengths and tries to improve the lives of Asian-Americans, who often find themselves marginalized in American popular culture.
During the day, Harold is your stereotypical Asian immigrant kid, a quiet, smart student who works hard and takes his opportunities seriously. But when he’s in the mood for a few hits of weed, he and his roommate Kumar go crazy. The pair drive around New Jersey on a mission to get the best stoner fix they can: White Castle sliders.
The duo’s antics are a bit predictable and gross, but they’re still very funny. They do dumb things (they burn down a Christmas tree) and get into all kinds of trouble. The humor is sometimes vulgar, but it’s never as crude as in other stoner comedies.
As the buttoned-down Harold, John Cho nicely bristles with his stoic deference to authority, but he relies on Penn’s looser-than-a-whip attitude to help him take chances now and then. It’s a fine combination and helps drive the film’s wildly varied comic elements, including Fred Willard’s deadpan satire of “Jack and Jill” as well as the hilarious cameos of Anthony Anderson, Ryan Reynolds, Neil Patrick Harris and a hilarious Christopher Meloni.
By the end, he’s learned that he can be a bit more aggressive and push his coworkers to the max. His self-discovery is one of the most satisfying moments in the film.
This film isn’t just about stoner buddies hanging out and having fun; it’s about a friendship that isn’t just physical but emotional as well. It’s also about learning to respect yourself and your own boundaries.
There’s also a definite political undercurrent to the movie, with Harold and Kumar being arrested as suspected terrorists. Their arrests rely on a number of different factors, such as racial profiling and the Patriot Act. The film also makes use of the War on Terrorism to satirize various government officials.
After smuggling a marijuana pipe onto their flight to Amsterdam, Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) are sent to Guantanamo Bay. But the duo escapes and embark on a wild quest to reach a White Castle.
Throughout their adventure, they encounter many colorful characters that have the potential to sidetrack them. The film introduces us to a number of satirical subversions of racial stereotypes.
While it might seem counterintuitive to focus on two Asians in a comedy, harold and kumar actually do a great job of challenging the notion that all Asians are alike. The duo does not wear accents as ID, nor do they match the stereotypes associated with Asians, which helps to drive home their underlying message that it is not worth discriminating against someone just because they are different.
The film features strong profanity, with words such as “fuck” and “shit” used more than 100 times. The writers also use a lot of obscene references to sexual anatomy.
This might seem like a bit much, but the film is actually a very entertaining movie and the humor is not overly aggressive. It also has a strong message that it is OK to get out of your comfort zone and take risks, as long as you do it in a safe way.
Despite the fact that Harold and Kumar do not feel out of place in the world, there is still an undercurrent of racism present throughout their journey. This is highlighted in scenes where they encounter local racist bullies, as well as President George W. Bush’s role in helping them escape from Guantanamo Bay.
These moments often highlight the fact that racism is a real problem, and that it’s important to combat it by standing up to it. It’s not easy, but it is definitely possible.
In the sequel, harold and kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay, the filmmakers attempt to address these concerns more explicitly. However, these efforts often come at the expense of cheap jokes that have little relevance to the actual situations they were attempting to convey.