Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

By Adam Lippe
Rob Corddry explains the dangers of male pattern baldness

Rob Corddry explains the dangers of male pattern baldness

How does one review a movie where, by the opening credits, one of the main characters has delighted himself by jizzing on his own face? “The best scene of its kind since Shortbus!” I guess the only important question is if it is funny.

The proper answer would be sometimes, even if the jokes are all set up the same way. Character one believes that someone is being racist/sexist or is a thug/redneck. Character two turns out to be the complete opposite, despite their appearance. Character one is reassured. Character two then does exactly what their stereotype demands they do, and all faith in humanity’s predictability is restored.

Because the film plays it so safe like that, complete with the usual scenes of gay panic, its ability to be offensive dissipates into a sort of blissful banality, interrupted by scenes of abundant nudity, drug use, and Rob Corddry playing the world’s most paranoid and stupid federal agent. It renders the promising idea – implied within the title – moot, and the satire toothless, as Harold and Kumar are more worried about avoiding a cockmeat sandwich and reminding Cuban refugees just getting off their escape raft that they should get Tivo.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.