Harold and Kumar, now with more politics: SPOILERS

Ignore the haters. If you enjoyed the first Harold and Kumar movie, they really worked hard to maintain the quality on the sequel. If the sequel drags at all compared to the original it is only because of the political commentary inserted throughout the film, which is highly welcomed by me. At first I thought Neil Patrick Harris’ return was going to be an underwhelming retread, but he really knocked this one out of the park. I’ve never followed any of his work, but his performance in this film is brilliant. Awesome.

My only real complaints about this film are politically-correct ones, which is kind of missing the point for a movie like this. I wish homosexuality wasn’t presented mainly as something gross and based on rape and domination. I appreciate that the movie forces any potential homophobes in the audience to see some cock, but if you are going to have the female actors showing their crotches, I think Kal Penn and John Cho should have to show theirs as well. Not that I really want to see them, but fair is fair. I wish the female characters had more agency, and I would have loved for the actor playing Kumar’s mother to have some lines and not just be a set of pleading eyes. In fact, on the cast page of the official film website they only list male actors. While I am a big fan of miscegenation in all its forms, and I like that as unrealistic as it is, the film has a symbolic scene of rich white upper-crusties applauding Kal Penn kissing an all-American white girl, I would love for there to be more female characters of color in the film. Paula Garc├ęs, who plays Maria in the film, is from Colombia, and that is cool, but she isn’t given much to do besides be a pretty face. There are no female Asian characters, and the only one who even had a name in the prior film is only mentioned off-handedly in this film as having performed a coprophiliac sex act. In a male-centered sex comedy it probably seems stupid to criticize the deficiencies of the female roles, but since there is so much that is so right about the Harold and Kumar movies, I really wish they got it all right. The Jewish characters come off as the most racist and stereotypical, which given that the creators of the movie are Jewish, removes them from criticism in a way. Who would I be to try to take self-hating comedy away from the Jews?

Oh, and I just can’t get down with Bush being portrayed as anything other than evil, hateful, self-righteous scum.

After reading several so-so reviews of the film, I wasn’t expecting much when Anjali and I went to see the movie opening day, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I love that the movie maintains the dream-like surreality of the first. I really appreciate the way Harold and Kumar make their way through a scary, nightmare world of white racial stereotypes. I like the way some ethnic stereotypes are subverted, and the way some aren’t so much reversals, as just bizarre fantasies that are just crazed in their conception. In a future movie I would love for Kumar to meet a white guy that loves yoga, and Krishna, and meditation, and feels that India is like, “so spiritual, Man.” That would be some funny shit.

I wasn’t really disappointed, except for my priorly-stated caveats. I laughed plenty, clapped in appreciation several times, and only wished I could have seen more of the young Harold. His brief, wordless appearance was hysterical. Thumbs up.


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