Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

January 28, 2012 10 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Harold (John Cho) is as straight laced as can be, a number cruncher who not only does his own work, but often has to cover his coworkers. He hates the extra burden, but he is too scared to speak up, as he doesn’t want to rock the boat. He had some plans to party this weekend, but just before the day’s end, one of his coworkers piled on a massive amount of paperwork to be completed. But his best friend Kumar (Kal Penn) won’t let some extra work get his down, in fact, he parties no matter what. The two are as opposite as can be in some ways, but both love to party and smoke weed. After the latest burn session, the friends are confronted with a wicked case of the munchies, but not the usual kind. No potato chips, chocolate, or donuts would quench this hunger, as only the perfect food would suffice. Just as they try to decide what to eat, a commercial comes on the television and their goal is clear, to haul ass to White Castle. The trek seems to be a short one however, when the only one within a few hours has closed down. After some persuasion, Harold agrees to venture to Cherry Hill, a hefty drive off, to indulge in those always delicious sliders. The two forge a pact not to go home until their White Castle satisfaction is complete, no matter what obstacles might arise. But little do they know what lies ahead, as the path is riddled with all kinds of traps, distractions, and mishaps. The two have their car stolen by Doogie Howser, meet a horrific tow truck driver named Freakshow, and then wind up in jail, not to mention countless other strange events. Will these two friends ever find the comfort of the White Castle, or will the trip be in vain?

This is another in the parade of gross out teen comedies, following in the hallowed footsteps of such classics as American Pie, Road Trip, and of course, Dude, Where’s My Car? But this time, instead of a bunch of white guys on a wild adventure, we have an Indian and a Korean fellow. I know, this changes the entire scope of the movie, or at least some have claimed that. In truth, race plays a minimal part in this movie, aside from some mild generic race baits. But any kind of tolerance lessons are disregarded, as the movie has no bones about slamming homosexuals or playing up other racial stereotypes. Then again, if you wanted sincere social commentary, you’d never come close to this movie, so no harm there. I found Harold and Kumar to be a decent little movie, one that has some hilarious moments, as well as some total flop moments. The casting of Neil Patrick Harris is priceless for instance, while the sequences with the extreme jocks comes off as lame and forced. This balance of great and pathetic is constant in this picture. The ever present toilet scene is here again, though to its credit, the scene is better than most of its kind. I know it sounds like I hated the movie, but that isn’t the case, I just wanted a more consistent level of humor. When it works, Harold and Kumar is a fun movie, but when it fails, the crickets can be heard chirping from miles in the distance. Even so, I recommend the movie as a rental, because for fans of madcap comedies, this Extreme Unrated version is worth a chance. New Line’s treatment sparkles too, so if you already love the flick, this disc is worth the cash.

Video: How does it look?

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As you’d expect from a day & date release, the image here looks terrific and has little room for complaints. The print has no real defects to speak of and the image is quite sharp, but I didn’t see much in terms edge enhancement, so no worries there. The film’s bright & vivid color scheme is maintained well here, with vibrant hues and no errors, while flesh tones are on the mark also. On the same lines, the contrast sports well balanced black levels and no issues as far as detail, so it all looks excellent with this treatment.

Audio: How does it sound?

As per usual for a dialogue driven comedy, Harold and Kumar has little in terms of dynamic audio presence, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is still solid. The music does open up the surrounds at times, but for the most part, the front channels bolster this mix. That is not bad news though, as the material is handled in fine and natural fashion, with no real errors to report. The sound effects have as punch as they need, which isn’t a whole lot, but this is due to the material and not limitations of this audio option. The dialogue is clean and never suffers from volume or clarity problems, so not a single word is lost. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

You want audio commentary tracks? This disc is an all you listen to buffet, with a grand total of three full length sessions. The best of the lot features director Danny Leiner and stars John Cho & Kal Penn, who offer a brisk and sometimes hilarious recollection. A lot of ground is covered in this track, as the trio discuss the characters, talk about all the actors in cameo roles, and drop some anecdotes. With three talkative folks involved, little time goes to waste and you’ll find a lot of great information here. The second track, with the two writers, is also worth a listen, but isn’t as consistent. I mean, you can expect some humorous stories, but this is a gross out movie, so the writers don’t have much in depth ground to walk. The third and final session is a solo run, as star Danny Bochart relays his memories of the production. Not much new to discuss here, but if you want every last piece of behind the scenes information, you’ll want to give this track a spin.

The rest of the supplements are video based, including a humorous, fictional look into how the film’s bathroom scene was produced. In The Art of the Fart, we follow a sound designer as he searches for the perfect fart noises and sounds of loose bowel movements. He builds hidden microphones to sample truck stop toilets, dresses like a woman to find the more feminine side of defecation, all in the name of cinematic bliss. I do think a more proper look into sound design might have been better, but this gives us a basic look inside how the process works, with a little humor thrown in to boot. Next we have an unusual interview segment, as the two leads are interviewed while riding in the back of a car. As expected, this is basic promotional stuff, but the concept is noble, as it adds a fresh angle to the same old interviews. You can also view brief interviews with other cast members, as well as take a look at how the animated sequence was created. This disc also includes a music video, a selection of deleted scenes, and two of the film’s theatrical trailers.

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