In <em>Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay</em>, John Cho and Kal Penn are high-flyin' again, this time to Amsterdam in search of Maria instead of to White Castle in search of sliders.

It’s 10 minutes after Roldy and Kumar get back from their first film’s addled epic quest for White Castle, which, you will remember, was the pretext for a movie representing the difficulties reality imposes on pleasure principle-centered lives. In that film, the joys of dope triumphed convincingly over police, cheetahs, and Neil Patrick Harris’s dick moves. Now, our heroes resolve to go forth hence to that mecca of legal marijuana, the fabled city of Amsterdam. More importantly, however, Harold (John Cho) hopes to connect with his beloved lady, Maria (Paula Garces), in a gutsy romantic move that Kumar (Kal Penn) approves. Things are going very chill until Kumar unveils a smokeless bong on an international flight.

The sequel is a not-so-subtle variation on the previous baked theme. So, if you weren’t crazy about White Castle, or are currently just saying no, this probably won’t light your fire. But who can possibly resist Penn and Cho, whose performances deny that stoners are slack of will or intelligence. And everything else in these films contributes to the overthrow of some other kind of stereotype: Even Dubya (James Adomian) is recast as a pothead, which might explain some of the shit he says. Again, utter disrespect is reserved for white people, this time in the person of Rob Corddry as a clueless secret agent.

Maybe these films aren’t high art, yet it is encouraging to know that Cheech and Chong have spiritual heirs. The kids today are going to be just fine.


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