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Harold and Kumar Go to the White Castle

Year: 2004
Production Co: Endgame Entertainment
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: Danny Liener
Writer: Jon Hurwitz/Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garcés, Fred Willard, Anthony Anderson, Neil Patrick Harris

What sort of movie would a burger chain let itself be attached to so visibly? Well, don't expect multiple levels of depth and analysis; it's neither terribly original nor terribly smart, but it's hard not to like because of the charisma and chemistry of unknown leads Cho and Penn. Two young flatmates – after a hard week of what they do best (work excessively if you're Harold, party excessively and wreck the interviews his father sets up for him at prestigious medical schools if you're Kumar) – want nothing more than to sit in their apartment and get stoned.

With a decent supply and some bad TV, they get appropriately high, and when an ad for the White Castle burger chain comes on, they set out on a seemingly simple mission to satisfy their munchies.

The film deals with their adventures in lust, drugs and backroads in a quest that will take them all night and throw up many an obstacle, including a bunch of extreme sports bullies, an escaped cheetah, the girl of Harold's dreams, a creepy redneck and his hot wife, a cop that takes himself too seriously, and a fat bag of weed.

Some of the humour is fast and effective, some of it's banal and some is just the sort of gross you probably have to be of junior high school age to find funny. But it's an honest effort and harmless fun, seeming to have more in common with American Pie (ie it's like a bunch of college age friends having fun with a camera rather than a film concerned with the traditional constraints of the three-act structure).

And while the lead duo share an effective comic sparring partnership, the biggest pleasure is watching another self-depreciating turn by Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser MD). After the role he played taking the piss out of himself in Undercover Brother, he compliments it here playing himself as an edgy, horny hitchhiker, and if he keeps it up, will make himself a comic cult figure.

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