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Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

A movie directed by Danny Leiner

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Dude, Where's My White Castle?

  • Mar 24, 2005
  • by
Pros: Hilarious at times, Doogie Howser cameo, race commentary, soundtrack, boobs

Cons: Gross-out humor, lack of plot (not necessarily a problem)

The Bottom Line: A very funny, modern day, intelligent, stoner movie.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

It’s easy to dismiss Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as a dumb, stoner movie filled with stereotypical characters, but, if you look below the surface, the film makes some interesting observations about racism, friendship, and how it’s OK to secretly love old-school Amy Grant.

Most importantly, Harold and Kumar, by the director who brought you Dude, Where’s My Car, is a damn funny flick. It acknowledges some ethnic stereotypes and debunks others, surprising the viewer at every turn with ridiculous, screwball adventures.

Harold and Kumar are an Asian odd couple who bond over smoking pot. Harold Lee (John Cho) works at a thankless office job where he gets pushed around by frat boy type white guys. They get him to do their work and tell each other that Asian guys love to do math, so it’s OK. Harold’s other frustration in life is that he can’t build up the courage to talk to the object of his affection, Maria, a beautiful woman who lives in his apartment complex.

Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) is brilliant, but he has no desire to go to medical school like his father wants him to. However, Kumar agrees to apply to med schools so that Dr. Patel will continue paying his rent. Kumar’s interview with a dean at Princeton who is a friend of his father’s is one of the film’s many highlights.

Although he’s generally a dedicated employee, one night Harold gives in to his roommate Kumar’s pressure and decides to smoke a lot of pot instead of working on a project for his office. As they watch Sixteen Candles, Harold and Kumar, predictably, get the munchies. They are enthralled by one of those late-night fast food commercials that’s made for stoners and decide that they need to drive to White Castle for some burgers. Convinced that they know where one is on the New Jersey Turnpike, the two friends set off to satisfy their hunger. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, finding White Castle is not as easy as the boys had anticipated.

A fun subplot is that Harold and Kumar’s Jewish neighbors Goldstein (David Krumholtz) and Rosenberg (Eddie Kaye Thomas, American Pie), after smoking from a shofar, a brilliant detail, decide to grab some kosher franks at Hot Dog Heaven. I wished that Goldstein and Rosenberg had been in the movie more since I preferred their characters to the people Harold and Kumar encounter on their journey. One of them, a guy called Freak Show (Christopher Meloni), was so disgusting-looking that I had to close my eyes. It’s a good thing I didn’t watch this film whilst stoned or I might have had nightmares from the Freak Show scenes.

The other problem I had with Harold and Kumar is that there’s a bit too much low-brow, toilet humor. The DVD includes a fake documentary on how the filmmakers captured the diarrhea sound effects. My friends and I found it impossible to watch this special feature in its entirety.

The most stoner-ish part of the movie is an entertaining dream/reality sequence riding on a cheetah. It reminded me of a Santana album cover come alive. Neil Patrick Harris playing himself is most people’s very favorite part, however. You’ll gain newfound respect for the former child star.

Harold and Kumar has an incredible soundtrack that includes “Camel Toe” by FannyPack and the best use of Heart’s* “Crazy on You” since The Virgin Suicides.

My friends and I rented the unrated version, which you should do if you are interested in seeing a lot of breasts. I’m not sure how the R-rated version compares in terms of boobage, but this one sure has its share.

For a drugged-out, buddy movie with essentially no plot, Harold and Kumar is quite entertaining, especially if you start with low expectations. You don’t have to be a stoner to enjoy Harold and Kumar, but stay away if you’re a prude or a snob. It may be art about getting high, but it’s certainly not high art.

* I’m currently going through a minor Heart obsession thanks to Carrie’s incredible rendition of "Alone" on this week’s American Idol.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More Harold & Kumar Go to White Cas... reviews
review by . April 01, 2006
Even though I enjoyed watching "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle," I don't feel that it deserves more than three stars. Some of the scenes in this flick are hilarious, but most of the movie just seems to plod along between those scenes.    It starts out easy enough, Harold("American Pie's" John Cho) is your average Asian intelligent guy stuck in a deadend job. He gets walked on by his co-workers and is stuck doing their work for the evening. His roommate, the underachieving …
review by . November 06, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Boy, does this movie look stupid. And, boy, is this movie funny. I'm just shocked. Doogie Howser, stoner munchies, bumbling cops like we haven't seen since the Dukes of Hazzard. It all sounds juvenile, sophomoric, and dumb. But somehow it works, and it is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a very long time. How they managed to pull this off I may never be able to figure out, but I have to recommend this one. Maybe it is because the characters are so earnest, kind, and real. Or maybe it is because …
review by . July 17, 2005
If you liked the humor in the Revenge of the Nerds movies you should definately like this one. This movie is so stupid but has some gut-wrenchingly funny parts nonetheless.    There are a lot of stereotypes (racial profilers, Indian convenience store guys, etc.) thar are played out well in a humorous way.    No matter how far the pair travel, they seem to run into the same people are end up back at some of the same places. And yes, the movie did make me make …
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About this movie


From the director ofDude, Where's My Car?comes another crazed tale of two friends on a perilous quest--in this case, to eat burgers at the fast food restaurant White Castle. The pair--repressed Harold (John Cho,Better Luck Tomorrow) and freewheeling Kumar (Kal Penn,Love Don't Cost a Thing)--get extremely high and set off on the road, only to be sidetracked by skateboarding hooligans, racist cops, an inbred tow truck driver, and Neil Patrick Harris--yes, Doogie Howser, M.D. The humor is all over the map, and it would be nice if there were one female character who wasn't a caricature, butHarold and Kumar Go to White Castlehas a loose, gregarious charm, and the movie's canniness about the cliches of the buddy-movie genre give it a sneaky subversive feel--just the fact that neither of the heroes is white puts a different spin on just about every circumstance. Surprisingly clever, cheerfully stupid.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Danny Leiner
DVD Release Date: January 4, 2005
Runtime: 88 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
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