out of Five
Running time: 88
Decent comedy from the director of Dude, Where’s My Car?, enlivened by some genuinely funny gags and engaging performances from its two offbeat leads.
In the States, Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies was known as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, after the burger chain featured in the film - White Castle’s famous mini-burgers, or “sliders”, are apparently a well-known snack to the discerning Stateside stoner.
Roomates Get Stoned And Embark On Crazed Odyssey
As re-titling decisions go, this is probably a pretty sound one. However, the UK advertising has scaled down the inspired campaign centred around the actors, which introduced them with the glaring announcement: “Starring John Cho (That Asian Guy From American Pie) and Kal Penn (That Indian Guy From Van Wilder)”.
At any rate, Harold and Kumar is an enjoyably silly comedy that markedly improves on the same director’s similar feature, Dude, Where’s My Car? (Sadly, the rumoured sequel Seriously, Dude, Where’s My Car? turned out to be a myth).
John Cho stars as Harold, a low-level banker whose colleagues abuse his perceived lack of a social life and force him to write their reports for them over the weekend. His roommate and best friend is Kumar (Kal Penn), a medical student more interested in partying than in preparing for an important interview. One smoke-out session later and both Harold and Kumar find themselves with a powerful case of the munchies and a hunger that will only be sated by “itty bitty White Castle burgers”, so they decide to drive across New Jersey in search of their desires.
Naturally, they have a series of increasingly bizarre encounters along the way, including: a couple of Attack Racoons, an escaped cheetah, a revolting truck-driver and his nymphomaniac wife, and Neil Patrick Harris as a drug-crazed version of himself.
Extremely Likeable Leads
John Cho and Kal Penn make extremely likeable leads and they have a chemistry together that is both funny and charming. Also, it may be clichéd to say so, but it is genuinely refreshing to see a film like this with two non-white actors in the main roles.
Frankly, if there isn’t already another Harold and Kumar movie in the works, then there should be. In addition, there’s good comic support from the likes of David Krumholtz and Eddie Kaye Thomas as Harold and Kumar’s friends and an amusing cameo by Fred Willard as the dean of Kumar’s college.
There’s the usual spattering of toilet humor (for example, a game of
“Battleshits”) but for the most part the gags are character-based rather than drug-based. Some of the comic set-pieces are extremely funny, such as the Racoon Attack or the entire sequence with Neil Patrick Harris (“Dude, did Doogie Howser just steal my car?”) There are also smaller moments that will come back to you and make you smile, such as Harold’s exasperated cry of, “WHEN will someone make a pedestrian crossing that recognises URGENCY?”
In short, Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies is a lot of fun and deserves to be seen by stoners and non-stoners alike. Recommended.