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Overall Rating
4

Awesome41.1%
Worth A Look: 32.88%
Average: 13.7%
Pretty Bad: 9.59%
Total Crap: 2.74%

8 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
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by Laura Kyle

"It made me hungry and didn't make me laugh. So I really didn't like it."
2 stars

Much like a tea bag, the latest comedy from relative newcomer Danny Leiner (director of the TV show “Everwood” and Dude, Where’s My Car?) and first-time screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, requires a key ingredient before it can be appreciated. And it’s not water. Just add marijuana.

And I don’t think movies should come with instructions.

Harold (John Cho) is a young, conservative investment banker and Kumar (Kal Penn) is a post-college wiz kid who’s bent on sabotaging his future as a doctor. The two friends, Uptight Pushover and Carefree Slacker, turn a routine Friday night of getting stoned into the road trip of their lives: a quest for burgers at the way-out-of-the-way fast food joint, White Castle. Racial slurs, Neil Patrick Harris on acid, a cheetah, and a raccoon all stand in the way of Harold and Kumar’s mission.

Sound like a knee-slapper of a plot? It really isn’t. Well, it’s not every day you see Doogie Howser get it on with a car seat. I’ll give you that.

There is something original about White Castle though… but it isn’t the script, the acting, or the direction… it’s the casting. Harold is Asian, and Kumar is Indian. I guess this is supposed to make me like the movie?

White Castle is responsible for one of the funniest scenes in 2004, and although it managed to court critics by making a few clever potshots (no pun intended) at the absurdity of racism … I can’t give it a pass because of a few good laughs, and I have trouble adding a star to the movie's rating, in my own personal brand of affirmative action.

Normally when a movie screams, “don’t take me seriously!” I don’t take it seriously. But the writers of White Castle must have preceded every other line of dialogue with a long drag, and were probably fucking Mary Jane hard while sketching out the plot specifics to this thing. Main characters: I get it. Premise: I get it. Not surprised you sold it, guys! But the end result isn’t creative, funny entertainment – it’s more along the lines of yawn inducing, and is of the lowest brow.

While the film intends to be high as a kite, the jokes fall hard, weighing it down. I’m all about the “silly comedy,” but only when it makes me laugh.

If I wasn’t three steps ahead of White Castle, anticipating every single gag, maybe the jokes would have snuck up on me and done the trick. But unfortunately, I found the movie to embody the sense of humor of a two-year-old or a pothead (to me, they exist on the same plane as far as definition of “funny” goes).

What White Castle did have going for it, was its social commentary, which gears a moviegoer up for perhaps a smart comedy, but unfortunately the movie is way too crowded with the logic of “Well that would never happen in real life. Put that in the script! It’ll surely get a laugh!” And if two guys riding a cheetah through the woods is the epitome of hilarity to you, then by all means, don’t let me get in the way of your fun.

I can only infer that the writers were too lazy to follow through with their better impulses and decided to cash in with idiocy of the unfunny kind.

Cho and Penn aren’t banking on Academy Awards... and I’m tempted to say they never should.

Cho appears to be sober the entire time, and unless I’m missing the point and his character is supposed to be… I can only conclude the guy playing him has never gotten high (do your research, man!) and/or is not a very a good actor. However, it’s more likely a plot hole insists that he play Harold straight – which he does sufficiently, just not too memorably.

And Penn, while fairly likeable, especially saddled next to his counterpart, oversells Kumar, and seems to think that avoiding the strain of facial muscles while talking and letting his tongue lazily rest up against his bottom lip, will make him believable as a stoner.

It’s highly possible these two actors have acting chops they may get to show off later, in better material, but I’m not putting my money on it. Still, there is a certain appeal to the duo and I would put a few bucks down on a sequel because of that fact alone. At the very least, they’ve got careers and a lifetime supply of burgers at White Castle.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9598&reviewer=369
originally posted: 01/24/05 13:06:05
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/23/13 Jeff Wilder Amusing bits. But inconsistent. I like "Friday" a lot better. 2 stars
12/09/12 Simon a rare doesnt-give-a-sh*t movie with mixed relentless obvi gags and understated dialogue 5 stars
2/16/09 Samantha Pruitt very smart and fresh, watch if you want a great laugh! 5 stars
9/11/08 alastair white castle = FAIL !!!!! worse film than madonas 'swept away' 1 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner Harold and Kumar are Hilarious!! 5 stars
7/01/08 Battleshit Contestant ...I'll tell you what...."we're not low"!!!!! Funny as all shit!!!! 5 stars
5/18/08 Jeff Anderson Very, very funny matched greatly by Cho & Penn's easygoing, hilarious & likable perfs! 5 stars
8/12/07 Dk Ashamed this only has a 3 star av. i tihnk it had the best comedy strips in it. even if it 5 stars
5/11/07 nate funniest part was the racoon bitting harold out of no where. 5 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold I feel as if I'm underrating (I gave Orange County a 5/5), but it'sstillexceptionallycomic. 4 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller No need to be high to laugh uncontrollably at this one - but it don't hurt, brethren. 5 stars
12/17/06 Jim Harold and Kumar weren't the only ones smoking weed! 4 stars
12/07/06 Jj da guy who reviewed dis must be ratarted!!! 3 stars? 5 stars
10/07/06 salvador it was the greatest movie in the whole world 5 stars
8/15/06 Ashley Hinz I really enjoyed it, but would not buy it. 4 stars
4/02/06 JRE soooo stupid, what's with the black dude and the weed? pretty funny though 2 stars
1/04/06 WISEMAN THIS IS AN AWEEESOME MOVIE!!!!!! 5 stars
12/01/05 michael g. this was an extremely funny movie!!! 5 stars
11/25/05 shaun wallner this movie was kewl i loved it 5 stars
11/12/05 ME GREAT MOVIE!!! Hilariously funny. 5 stars
10/31/05 anonymous asians are dumb and they eat our dogs. WHITE POWER. 1 stars
8/19/05 ES Aside from the really stupid Cheetah part a funny film 4 stars
8/18/05 sweetgrrl1972 I just about peed myself laughing. The domestic violence part was a buzzkill though. 5 stars
8/17/05 Yazid Best comedy movie ever!! Kal Penn and John Cho did a great job 5 stars
8/09/05 Maalstrom some funny, some not. 3 stars
8/05/05 matt r this movie is "F"ing hilarious. 5 stars
7/26/05 Bad Critic This movie really makes you crave White Castle. The giant bag of weed was hilarious! 4 stars
7/25/05 JFK great dope movie. If I were alive i surely consumed this shit 5 stars
7/20/05 Henry One of my favorite movies, finally some truly funny asian actors to hit america 5 stars
5/27/05 buddy funniest movie ever *nothing* is better! 5 stars
5/26/05 Richa It was hilarious. ne1 says otherwise doesnt noe the value of a stereotypical comedy movie. 5 stars
5/24/05 Minesh bad acting, little laughs, repetitive lines, very disappointed 2 stars
5/23/05 John Cena Totaly Tops 5 stars
4/20/05 Clubber Lang A Few funny scenes, but most of gags simply aren't funny, and the pace is way off 2 stars
4/06/05 Vince Decent stoner flick with a good bunch of laughs 3 stars
3/27/05 indrid cold It's just OK, but the sequence where he fantasizes about the pot bag is hilarious. 3 stars
2/20/05 lj delightfully brainless diversion 3 stars
2/19/05 Sharon Davis Odd, funny movie 4 stars
2/17/05 Carolyn Rathburn stupidly funny, how dense can people be. 3 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Mindless but funny. 3 stars
2/10/05 David Bennett Unlike anything else 4 stars
2/10/05 Daniel James A good movie, although it isn't funny all the time. 4 stars
2/02/05 Graves The rating says it all...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/02/05 Lynde Foy HUsband says its awesome--I beg to differ 2 stars
2/01/05 april gupton it was ok 3 stars
2/01/05 Edward Condon I went in knowing nothing and came out with a huge smile on my face, and not b/c of pot. 4 stars
2/01/05 Kenneth Hannan Waste. Of. Time. 1 stars
2/01/05 Robert Pfeifer The best stoner movie I've Seen Since Up In Smoke!! 4 stars
1/31/05 Dan Funny, dull at sometimes, but funny none the less. 4 stars
1/30/05 bongeezer Some funny bits surrounded by alot of non-funny bits. 2 stars
1/30/05 Caroline As s'one who's never been stoned, and obsessed with PC, it was so ironic that I adore it 5 stars
1/30/05 Fred Pellerito If you liked Dazed and Confused and movies of that genre, you'll love this movie. 4 stars
1/29/05 govenar pretty funny 5 stars
1/29/05 DONNA LONGWORTH SO STUPID ITS FUNNY! 4 stars
1/29/05 blueviolet A funny, weird, quirky, oddball, raunchy laughfest. 4 stars
1/26/05 NYYFAN Funniest movie of 2004 5 stars
1/17/05 Dan Some funny parts, but on the whole it was boring 2 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson BRILLIANT, SIMPLY BRILLIANT!! A REAL LAUGH FILLED TREAT AND I DON'T MEAN JUST THE BURGERS!! 5 stars
1/16/05 Jupe very very funny 5 stars
1/15/05 Devin Knox good 5 stars
11/14/04 Faith GREAT DAMN STONER FLICK 5 stars
10/25/04 hudson doesn't get much better 5 stars
9/17/04 Hilary Adamson Wow! If only I could shit as shamelessly as those giddy "diarrhea twins". What a life! 4 stars
9/16/04 Tiffany Thunderhurst Not quite as good as WHITE CHICKS, but similar farcical comedy. 4 stars
9/15/04 Robyn Jamil-Walid EricD, how did "horrific bathroom experience" (my favorite part) not trash it all for you? 4 stars
9/12/04 Noah THIS WAS THE FUNNIEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN 5 stars
9/03/04 Deepdish I collapsed on the cinema aisle and nearly choked on my popcorn and coke laughing 5 stars
8/25/04 Eric Sun The best movie to help asian guys with low self-esteem.Very funny! 5 stars
8/24/04 Ed fun fare 5 stars
8/21/04 L Wilson I took two friends, one woman 85 who doesn't love the F word, but they loved the movie 5 stars
8/16/04 Peter James Much better then I was expecting after seeing the trailer 4 stars
8/15/04 ben r funny as hell 5 stars
8/14/04 Obi Wan Very funny...about time the MILF kid got more screen time!! 5 stars
8/12/04 Jason Dow Totally funny . . .i was inspired 5 stars
8/12/04 kc about time the B class asian actors starred in their own movie, it was damn hilarious 5 stars
8/10/04 Darren Shea possibly the smartest stoner movie, ever. I want to see H&K Go To Amsterdam 5 stars
8/09/04 Dro If you Blitzed out or Jus CHillin watch this Movie! 5 stars
8/09/04 Kate Funniest movie I've seen since Super Troopers...made me crave some White Castle 5 stars
8/07/04 Gal Great stoner classic! 5 stars
8/06/04 nick2k i want sequel now...damn funny. bring anderson, harris, kennedy, & meloni along too! 5 stars
8/06/04 Terence This movie is by far the funniest movie so far this year 5 stars
8/05/04 Erik This movie was dope, a must see. I don't care who you are, you'll laugh your ass off. 5 stars
8/04/04 cbort hilarious 5 stars
8/03/04 KingNeutron Funny enough for non-stoners. 3 stars
8/03/04 carlos r guzman shitty but a must-see, penn and cho should do more films 2 stars
8/03/04 Jay I'm not a stoner, but I enjoyed this flick 4 stars
8/02/04 dredphul stupid but soo funny 4 stars
8/01/04 ajay there's a fine line between stupid and so stupid it's funny. This movie is the latter. 4 stars
8/01/04 Brad Pretty funny movie! 4 stars
7/31/04 Kumar Kicks ass awesome flick dude 5 stars
7/30/04 john akers harold and kumar is the funniest movie in a couple months 5 stars
7/29/04 Carter Davis Hilarious. Go see this movie. 5 stars
7/27/04 J.D. Semlow Very, very, funny most of the time. 4 stars
7/23/04 Mix Master Mason Everything you need to know about this turd is on the poster, way too PC for me... 1 stars
7/23/04 CM GREAT FILM! IT REMINDED ME OF COLLEGE AND MY BUDS! 5 stars
7/13/04 Ilene Jaffe Great film - smart and very funny 5 stars
6/22/04 Barry Simpson One of the Funniest Movies I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Jul-2004 (R)
  DVD: 04-Jan-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  23-Sep-2004 (MA)




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