Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

harold and kumar go to white castle IMDb

There was a very small window of opportunity in which I could have watched this movie and stood a chance at liking it. That window closed years ago. I’m now left to wonder how this ever became such a huge hit, knowing full well that no answer will ever provide a sufficient explanation.

My main issue with the movie is that the characters are after White Castle burgers. Now, I’ve never actually had one, but I’ve heard that they aren’t that great. I mean, just look at the picture on the movie poster. How could that puny thing ever compare to the gloriousness that is In-N-Out or Shake Shack? Hell, I’d even take McDonald’s over White Castle based on that photo alone. But then, I’ve never been high, and when I’m drunk the only thing I want to eat are potato chips, so what do I know.

I will give credit to the two leads, Kal Penn and John Cho. They’re both likable guys, and do have some mean comedic timing. It’s rare to see a movie starring two non-Caucasion leads, and more importantly, they do not conform to the typical Asian stereotypes that permeate Hollywood. In fact, some of the best jokes in the film openly mock this sort of subtle racism. This is still a stoner comedy for sure, but a smarter one than something like Dude, Where’s My Car? (The two movies share the same director. Clearly he matured as a filmmaker.).

Ultimately, I just don’t get it. But since I’m clearly not the target audience I won’t dwell on it any further. Good luck, stoners. I hope you’re always able to fulfill your munchie needs, just like Harold and Kumar.

Rating: D+

I remember this being a lot funnier the first time I watched it. Maybe I’ve just grown up since then. Harold & Kumar is still funny, but not like I remember it being.

Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are two stoned friends who suddenly get a case of the munchies after lighting up one Friday night. They decide they need to find a White Castle burger joint to cure their craving, and set out to find one. This leads to one misstep after another as their night goes from bad to worse. Leading them to eventually be arrested, get their car stolen by Neil Patrick Harris and get abused by a gang of kayaking punks. Along the way, trying to help Harold hook up with his dream girl (Paula Garces), and get Kumar’s doctor father off his back about going to medical school.

This film still makes me chuckle, but I remember it being a lot funnier. The highlight is definitely Neil Patrick Harris. This film really put him on the map again, as he plays a coked up caricature of himself who is addicted to strippers. This role really did lead to his starring turn as Barney in How I Met Your Mother. There is also another funny scene where Harold and Kumar realise the kayak gang are closet Wilson Philips fans. Seeing Harold and Kumar rock out to them is comedy gold. They were doing it well before Bridesmaids came along, too. There are laughs to be had here, for sure, but not as many as I remember.

Rating: C

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