Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

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Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Two men in orange jumpsuits behind a wire fence.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • Jon Hurwitz
  • Hayden Schlossberg
Starring
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Daryn Okada
Edited by Jeff Freeman
Production
company
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date
  • April 25, 2008 (2008-04-25)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $43.5 million

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is a 2008 American stoner comedy film, and the second installment of the Harold & Kumar series. The film was written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.

The story continues where Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle leaves off, with Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) flying to Amsterdam, but they are imprisoned after being mistaken for terrorists, and end up on a series of comical misadventures when they escape from Guantanamo Bay. The film also stars Paula Garcés,[1] Neil Patrick Harris, Jon Reep, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms,[1] David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Danneel Harris, Eric Winter, Adam Herschman, and Richard Christy.[2]

The film was released on April 25, 2008 by Warner Bros.; this film was the first New Line Cinema title to be distributed by Warner Bros. since New Line Cinema became a division of Warner Bros. It is also the first Harold & Kumar film made in association with Mandate Pictures.[3] The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on July 29, 2008.

Plot[edit]

After returning home from White Castle, Harold Lee and Kumar Patel decide to travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands so Harold can surprise his neighbor and newfound girlfriend Maria. At the airport, Kumar argues with a TSA agent for searching him “because of the color of his skin” despite the agent’s being black. The duo encounter Kumar's ex-girlfriend Vanessa Fanning, who is engaged to Colton Graham, a college friend of Harold's whose family has political connections. The plane passengers mistake Kumar's bong for a bomb and the duo are apprehended by sky marshals. Ron Fox, a neurotic and racist Deputy of Secretary of Homeland Security, believes the duo are agents of a joint Al-Qaeda and North Korean conspiracy and send them to Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. During a montage of the secretary’s racist acts, we see him forcing Harold’s parents to speak Korean, believing Kumar’s parents to be Arabic + Native Americans, randomly assuming a black man is hostile, bribing two Jewish men with a bag of pennies, and assuming Harold’s eye shape to be a disease. The duo escape and board a Cuban refugee boat to Miami, Florida where they begin their trek to Texas, hoping Colton can clear their names. On the road, Kumar has flashbacks of meeting Vanessa in college.

The duo endure several misadventures on their way to Texas, such as staying at the home of incestuous sibling couple and their inbred son, escaping a Ku Klux Klan rally, and visiting a brothel with Neil Patrick Harris, who helps them evade capture from Fox. When they reach Texas, Colton agrees to exonerate the duo, but upon seeing Kumar reconnect with Vanessa, Colton instead delivers them to Fox. On the flight back to Cuba, Harold and Kumar subdue Fox’s men. When Fox tries confronting them he is knocked out by Dr. John Beecher the Vice Chairman of the NSA after Fox repeatedly treated him like a scrawny nerd. But he accidentally loses his footing, opens a door and falls to his death. Harold and Kumar escape via parachute. Fox falls to his death in the struggle. The two land in President George W. Bush's estate. While smoking cannabis with the duo, Bush pardons them. The duo are escorted to Vanessa and Colton's wedding by Secret Service and expose Colton's betrayal to Vanessa and the guests. Colton confronts them, but Harold punches him out. Kumar consoles a furious Vanessa by reciting a poem he wrote for her in college and they reconcile. Harold, Kumar, and Vanessa travel to Amsterdam where Harold finds Maria. The couples happily tour the city while getting high off cannabis.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released March 23, 2008
Label Lakeshore Records

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Original Soundtrack was released on April 15, 2008. It contains 13 songs used in the film.

Track list
  1. "Ooh Wee (Remix)" - Mark Ronson featuring Nate Dogg, Ghostface Killah, Trife, and Saigon
  2. "My Dick" - Mickey Avalon
  3. "Cappuccino" - The Knux
  4. "Check Yo Self (The Message Remix)" - Ice Cube
  5. "My Stoney Baby" - 311
  6. "Chinese Baby" - Viva la Union*
  7. "Nothin' But a Good Time" - Poison
  8. "Pussy (Real Good)" - Jacki-O
  9. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" - Boyz II Men
  10. "In the Beginning" - K'Naan
  11. "Gospel Weed Song" - Bizarre
  12. "All That I Want" - Curtis Murphy Syndicate
  13. "The Merkin Medley" - George S. Clinton
  14. "I Love My Sex" - Benny Benassi

Songs that appear in the film, but are not on the soundtrack album, include:

  1. "Whiplash" - Metallica
  2. "Something About That Woman" - Lakeside
  3. "I Love Ganja" - Rastaman Ivan
  4. "Sippin' on Dat" - Victor Rubio
  5. "The Donque Song" - will.i.am featuring Snoop Dogg
  6. "Mr. Shadowmaker" - Jeff Cardoni
  7. "Toca Me Lo" - Lucci & Cruz
  8. "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" - Elvin Bishop
  9. "Pussy Ass Bitch" - Transcenders
  10. "Danger Zone" - Kenny Loggins
  11. "Hey Joe" - Jimi Hendrix
  12. "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" - Belinda Carlisle
  13. "I've Been Around Too Long" - Marmalade
  14. "Stick It" - Great White
  • Vito Altamura (Harold) is the lead singer of Viva la Union and wrote the song "Chinese Baby" from this soundtrack.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Hurwitz and Schlossberg—who wrote the original Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle—were to direct the follow-up from their original script.[4] On January 31, 2007, The Hollywood Reporter announced that David Krumholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Corddry, Christopher Meloni, Ed Helms, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Paula Garces, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Danneel Harris, and Eric Winter will join Vito Altamura and Kal Penn in Harold & Kumar 2.[4]

Filming[edit]

Filming began in the third week of January 2007 in Shreveport, Louisiana.[4][5] Filming concluded in March 2007, after which Kal Penn was able to start guest teaching some courses at University of Pennsylvania for their Spring 2008 semester.[6]

Post-Production[edit]

Warner Bros.' spokesman said that this film was originally produced as a direct-to-video film until a decision was made to release it theatrically.[7]

The film cost $12 million to make.[3]

Promotion[edit]

In October 2007, a "coming soon" poster featuring Neil Patrick Harris began circulating on the Internet.[8] Showing Harris astride a unicorn, the advertisement poses the question "What would NPH do?"[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 52% based on 136 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It may not equal its predecessor, but Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is still good for some laughs -- and food for thought."[10] Metacritic reported the film had an average weighted score of 57 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews"".[11]

Daily Variety declared it "Animal House meets Dr. Strangelove" and called it "one of the ballsiest comedies to come out of Hollywood in a long time."[12] The Guardian (which rated the movie 7 out of 10) noted that despite having a "total nonsense" story, its screening was "one of the most raucous screenings I've ever attended. Even the opening credits were wildly applauded, and much of the dialog was inaudible over the laughter."[13]

Not all reviews were so glowing; Richard Roeper of At the Movies lamented that although he enjoyed the "pot-fueled laughs and the sheer energetic lunacy of the original, I was really let down by this uninspired sequel."[14] The New York Daily News said that "the movie forgets to stay true to their characters or to itself."[15] Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune wrote that you "find yourself smiling at some of the bits, wincing through many, many others, and ultimately wondering if the pacing would've improved had either H or K developed a terrible cocaine habit."[16] Amnesty International USA commented by saying that "Guantanamo is no joke." They have encouraged their membership to hand out fliers at movie theater screenings to promote awareness about the treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[17]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $14.9 million in 2,510 theaters, in the United States and Canada, averaging $5,939 per theater and ranking #2 at the box office behind Baby Mama.[18] The film performed much better at the box office than its predecessor which grossed $23.9 million worldwide[19] after opening at #7 in the United States and Canada with $5.4 million.[20] As of July 17, the international theatrical gross stands at $43,327,445. The US DVD Sales total $23,872,890 as of 22 March 2009. The budget of the film was $12 million.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc July 29, 2008 featuring a single-disc theatrical edition, an unrated edition, or a 2-disc unrated edition. The unrated edition was featured for Blu-ray disc. The 2-disc version features a "dude change the movie" feature which lets the viewer access alternate scenes and ending including "Harold & Kumar Go to Amsterdam". By February 2009, the film had earned $24,255,691 from DVD sales in the United States.[21] By 2013, the DVD release had sold 1,231,397 units and grossed $24,948,849 in the United States.[22] The film went on to gross $30,395,809 in DVD sales.[23]

Sequel[edit]

Kal Penn and John Cho returned in their title roles in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. Danneel Harris reprised her role of Vanessa and Paula Garces returned as Maria. Neil Patrick Harris also returned for a cameo in this sequel.[24][25] Eddie Kaye Thomas and Bobby Lee also reprised their roles from the previous films. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was released on November 4, 2011.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b MTV News (2007-05-18). "'Harold & Kumar 2' Gets Political". MTV Music Television. Retrieved 2008-08-09.  (Video)
  2. ^ "Lots More Hit the Road for Harold and Kumar 2". Cinematical. 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2007-03-29. 
  3. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (2008-04-27). "'Baby Mama' tops box office". Variety. 
  4. ^ a b c "11 Board Harold & Kumar". comingsoon.net. January 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Second Harold & Kumar Starts in January". comingsoon.net. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  6. ^ "'Kumar' Actor Has College Teaching Gig'". USA Today. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  7. ^ 'Baby Mama' legit at the boxoffice The Hollywood Reporter April 27, 2008
  8. ^ "'Harold & Kumar 2' Poster Asks 'WWNPHD?'". I Watch Stuff. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  9. ^ What Would NPH Do? Redirects to "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  10. ^ "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Rotten Tomatoes Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  12. ^ Leydon, Joe (2008-03-09). "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay". Variety. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  13. ^ Rose, Steve (2008-03-10). "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  14. ^ Roeper, Richard (2008-04-28). "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  15. ^ Neumaier, Joe (2008-04-25). "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  16. ^ Phillips, Michael (2008-04-24). "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  17. ^ "Denounce Torture". Amnesty International USA. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  18. ^ "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  19. ^ "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  20. ^ "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  21. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  22. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved June 3, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Harold and Kumar 3 Announced". Slashfilm.com. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  25. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (2008-07-24). "'Harold & Kumar' set for third puff". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  26. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 

External links[edit]