Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle - Extreme Unrated Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Unrated

Starring:
John Cho as Harold Lee
Ethan Embry as Billy Carver
Robert Tinkler as J.D.
Fred Willard as Dr. Willoughby
Kal Penn as Kumar Patel
Steve Braun as Cole
Dan Bochart as Extreme Sports Punk #1
Paula Garcιs as Maria
David Krumholtz as Goldstein
Eddie Kaye Thomas as Rosenberg
Anthony Anderson as Burger Shack Employee
Siu Ta as Cindy Kim

Special Features:
Deleted/Alternate scenes & "Extreme" outtakes

"The Back Seat Interview" with John Cho, Kal Penn and Bobby Lee

"The Art of the Fart" sound documentary

"Cast & Crew: Drive-Thru Bites"

"A Trip to the Land of Burgers" featurette

Commentary with director Danny Leiner, John Cho and Kal Penn

Commentary with writers Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg

Theatrical trailer

"Script-to-screen" with storyboards

"Me and Weedy" photo activity

All Too Much/"Yeah" music video

Bonus "Extreme" commentary track by Danny Bouchard

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 90 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"If you like comedy extreme and your action twisted, buckle up for this epic story of deep inhaling and sizzling hot buns!

Straitlaced, hard-working Harold (John Cho, the American Pie movies) and his roommate, the rebellious, hard-partying Kumar (Kal Penn, National Lampoon's Van Wilder), have only one thing in common – a serious case of the munchies. As they set out on a quest to satisfy their craving, Harold and Kumar's simple road trip turns into a hilarious all-night adventure filled with outrageous obstacles, sick characters and dangerous, sexy curves!

With a hysterically funny supporting cast including Neil Patrick Harris and Fred Willard, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle will take you on a rollercoaster ride."

This is the unrated version of the film, but the theatrical version was rated R for strong language, sexual content, drug use and some crude humor.

The Movie:
Simply put, Harold and Kumar is a sex and drugs comedy. If you like those kinds of films, then you'll enjoy this. If not, then you're better off passing on it. I personally don't care for it. While there were a few things here and there that did make me laugh, I found myself generally turned off by the humor. The movie gets more and more absurd as it goes along to the point where it just gets stupid. I missed it in theaters, so I can't tell you how this unrated version compares to the original. However, I'd bet there's a bit more nudity and gross out humor than what was shown on the big screen.

The whole premise of the movie is that these guys are high on marijuana and get hungry, so they begin a quest to go to White Castle. First of all, I personally think it's irresponsible for filmmakers to glamorize drug use. I think it sends the wrong messages to kids who are no doubt going to watch this film and enjoy it. Secondly, I can't believe that White Castle would agree to allow their franchise to be the focus of a film like this. To have their business associated with drug munchies seems quite odd.

Besides the sex and drug humor, there's also a lot of gross out humor. There's a character named "Freakshow" that is covered in boils that ooze pus. (Freakshow is played by the unrecognizable Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: SVU.) Harold and Kumar also get trapped in a bathroom with a couple of girls who have diarrhea. That's probably enough examples to give you an idea about the kind of disgusting stuff they do for laughs. So what did make me laugh? Mostly the random cameos that take place throughout the movie. There are some funny scenes between Harold and a group of overzealous Asian friends at Princeton. Bobby Lee makes a funny nerd in the scene. Neil Patrick Harris also makes a shocking cameo as himself in the movie. While he, too, does a lot of the sex and drugs comedy, he does a lot of other stuff that is so obviously out of character for him that it is amusing. Anthony Anderson also has a funny cameo as a drive thru guy at a burger place. Also look for cameos by Ryan Reynolds, Fred Willard, Jamie Kennedy, Ethan Embry, and more.

The cast is led by John Cho as Harold Lee and Kal Penn as Kumar Patel. These two relative unknowns are actually pretty funny. They have a lot of chemistry together and make this buddy road trip generally work. They also have a lot of amusing jokes about their Asian and Indian origins. They are both witty and funny, but I think I would have enjoyed them more in a different film.

Harold & Kumar wasn't the kind of movie that I was interested in, but hopefully this is enough to let you know whether it's something you'd want to check out.

The Extras:
I should start out by noting that the menus for this DVD feature funny footage of Harold and Kumar in their car. They prompt you to make selections along the way. Here are the highlights of the bonus features:

Deleted/Alternate scenes & "Extreme" outtakes – The outtakes are actually included with the deleted scenes on this DVD. There's a lot of green screen footage included from a scrapped dream sequence. They feature a lot of the cameo guests dancing around and acting silly. As for the other deleted scenes, they are quite brief. One has a cop who finds their marijuana stash having a dream sequence with the bag of weed similar to that of Kumar's. There is also more footage of Freakshow.

"The Back Seat Interview" with John Cho, Kal Penn and Bobby Lee – This is your standard DVD interview with the cast, but it is conducted in a car driven by Bobby Lee. The guys show their great sense of humor and relate a lot of stories from the set. It's pretty entertaining.

"The Art of the Fart" sound documentary – This is a joke documentary showing how the sound designer went on a quest to find the perfect diarrhea sound effects for the film. It's funny and disgusting, but it does run a little long.

"Cast & Crew: Drive-Thru Bites" – These are a number of short interviews with the cast and crew from the film. They include Neil Patrick Harris, Fred Willard, the Diarrhea Twins, the director, and more.

"A Trip to the Land of Burgers" featurette – This shows how the animated dream sequence with Harold was created for the movie. It's an interesting look at the development of the scene, but it, too, runs a little long.

Commentary – There are three commentaries included on this DVD. One is with director Danny Leiner, John Cho and Kal Penn. Another is with writers Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg. A final Bonus "Extreme" commentary track is by Danny Bouchard, one of the thugs from the film. All of the commentaries are funny and informative, but the one with Cho and Penn is probably the most entertaining since they have the most stories about the making of the film.

The Bottom Line:
If you're into sex and drug comedies, then Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle will entertain you. If you're not into them, then stay far away from this film.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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