As an Indian-American, I’m grateful for Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, mostly because it features someone of my ethnicity as a lead performer. Now, is it offensive and does it perpetuate stereotypes? Yes, gleefully so, and not just the Indian stereotype and the Asian stereotype, but also the stereotype of the urban African-American, the Jew, the pot-smoking white hippie, the Brit skank, the white hooligan, the mustached white police, the white inbred redneck, every damn type under the politically incorrect sun. Harold & Kumar is the Animal House of the new millennium: it’s suffused in pot haze; full of randy, topless women; and a lot of rowdy, unapologetic humor (by the way, all you’ve heard about Neil Patrick Harris’ cameo is true: it’s mortifying and pretty hilarious.)
Harold & Kumar knows that we, collectively, can’t get along (the likeminded and like-raced stick together and either wage war against or seek refuge from the warmongers who form the dominant majority–in this case, the whole spectrum of dimwitted suburban America), and has fun skewering these simple racial perceptions. The plot is easy enough: the title roommates, after smoking a whole lotta dope, hit the road searching for the nearest White Castle to satisfy their craving for the title fast-food franchise’s burgers. A lot of high jinks, tangents, raucousness and hilarity ensue, all of it fast-paced and unselfconscious. Watch this one stoned, drunk, neither, both–I won’t hold you to anything. Whatever the case, it’s a whacky, racially refreshing breather in Hollywood’s white-dominated, politically over-correct bummer of a mainstream culture.
Directed by: Danny Leiner
Written by: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Gracés, Neil Patrick Harris, Fred Willard, Eddie Kaye Thomas