John Cho and Kal Penn reprise their roles as Harold and Kumar; two twenty something guys who are always on the lookout for good pot. In “Escape”, the two decide to take a trip to Amsterdam in order to track down the object of Harold’s affection and, well, you know, smoke pot. Due to a case of mistaken Identity, the boys are labeled terrorist and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.
One of the Problems with this movie is a problem that seems to haunt a number of sequels. It can’t recapture the magic of its predecessor. Not to say that “Escape” isn’t funny. It does have its moments. Neil Patrick Harris is back as the ever-stoned, ever-horny, NPH. (He plays himself, only not. At least…I hope he’s not really that drug and sex obsessed.) Penn and Cho are also great here. They have the kind of on-screen chemistry actors pray for. No, it’s not the acting but the script that lets the movie down. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg beat the audience over the head with a, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” theme. The same theme was present in “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”, only Hurwitz and Schlossberg focused on the jokes, not the life-lesson. In “Escape”, the emphasis is placed on the life-lesson no matter how much it may hurt the joke. I don’t mean to imply that this lesson isn’t one some still need to learn. I’m just saying that these writers should have handled the subject a little better. Much in the way they did in “White Castle”. I don’t know about you, but when I shell out ten bucks for a comedy, I want more comedy and less after school special. I don’t mind some after school special, I just don’t think it’s necessary to assume your audience, even the stoner audience, is stupid and won’t get what you as a writer are trying to say unless it’s repeated time and time again in an extremely obvious manner.
Harold and Kumar gets a very mild recommendation from me. The comedy that’s there is amusing. You shouldn’t rush out and see this movie, but if you’re bored or you come across it once it’s available in video stores it’s worth a go. Oh, and if you do see this in theaters, stay until the credits are over for further story resolution.