Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is a stoner flick starring Kal Penn, John Cho, and a whole bunch of cameos. But mostly it's about them.
Harold (Cho) is an investment banker who has just had any plans he had for the weekend crushed by his asshole coworkers (Ethan Embry and Robert Tinkler) dumping their work on him. His buddy and roommate, Kumar (Penn) gets him to come home and get high anyway, and they decide, after smoking up, to head to White Castle - those little burgers would really hit the spot.
And thus begins an epic adventure sees them ride a cheetah, steal a car, get their car stolen by Neil Patrick Harris (playing a drug-addled, horny, straight version of himself), get propositioned by Ryan Reynolds and Malik Akerman, get arrested, and finally wind up hang-gliding down a cliff to reach White Castle.
The movie is really funny, in my humble opinion. The chemistry between Cho and Penn is amazing, and the Job-like shit that piles on Harold is nicely balanced by the way that Kumar just kind of coasts through life. But at the same time, they both wind up with their own epiphanies: Kumar realizes that he does want to be a doctor, it's just that he doesn't want to become his father. Harold realizes that he can stand up for himself and take the initiative to talk to his crush, Maria (Paula Garces), which he manages to do without being creepy.
It's also full of cameos; besides the folks I mentioned, we get Christopher Meloni as the deformed, Christian swinger Freakshow; Anthony Anderson as a deranged Burger Shack employee; Jamie Kennedy as a...dude taking a piss in the middle of nowhere; and Jordan Prentice as a giant bag of weed. Um. Anyway, one of my favorite bits is that the guys' neighbors, fellow stoners Goldstein and Rosenberg (David Krumholtz and Eddie Kay Finch, respectively) are having their own crazy night trying to get to Hot Dog Heaven. There was, apparently, a side project involving that epic quest, and the "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern" parallels are obvious.
Not the most female-friendly movie in the world, sorry to say; the girls in the movie are pretty much just sex objects, and although Harold treats his crush well and respectfully, we don't really know much about her. The women in the movie aren't abused or trashed, though, and I guess that's something.
I have not seen the sequels, and I'm just kind of happy that way. This is a good movie, why fuck it up?
My grade: A-
Rewatch value: High (get it?)
Next up: Harold and Maude