|Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
||[Jul. 31st, 2004|09:29 pm]
한국 사람이 아니다
I can almost imagine the pitch to the studio execs at New Line:
"Okay, so these two guys, right? Just out of college, one's a drone in an office and the other is being pressured by his family to go to med school. In...um...New Jersey! Yeah, New Jersey. But they just want to smoke pot and get stoned. With me so far? Okay. So when they're stoned, they see an ad on TV for White Castle and they just have to go get some. And it takes them all night. But then they get there and they eat and then they go home. Oh! And we'll have it directed by that guy who did Dude, Where's My Car?
Sounds incredibly stupid, doesn't it? And you know, it probably would have been. But somehow, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle somehow transcends its "guys in search of sex, drugs and food" image. Instead, it becomes a buddy picture, a direct descendant of Laurel and Hardy, Bing and Bob, Oscar and Felix, Jay and Silent Bob, and, yeah, okay...and Cheech and Chong. And, like those last two, our heroes aren't white dudes...nope. One's Indian, and the other's Korean.
And Harold and Kumar (John Cho - "The Asian guy from American Pie" and Kal Penn - "The Indian guy from Van Wilder") are what makes this movie...something else. Both recently out of college, Harold is a junior investment banker and Kumar, with perfect MCATs, is destined for medicine like his father and brother...except he doesn't want to be a doctor. But neither of these two guys - unlike so many of the protagonists of these so-called "stoner flicks" - are burnouts. They are actually both really smart guys.
They just want some damn Slyders.
And they spend all night in a New Jersey odyssey which includes an Asian Club party, a raccoon, a redneck cop, white supremist skaterpunks, and escaped cheetah and a very horny Doogie Howser, looking for them.
They also have to deal with something else, which most of us don't. "Thank you, come again!" the skatepunks taunt Kumar in an Apu accent. "Oh, those Asians love to crunch numbers. We probably made his whole weekend," laugh Harold's bosses as they dump their work on him to do for them. Because, while Kumar and Harold think of themselves as normal American guys, no one else seems to see them that way. And not just white people: in one scene, Harold says he can't tell the Korean girl who's chasing him that he's not interested in her Asian Cultural Club because "she'll just lecture me about being a Twinkie." And as much as they try to melt into a pot and be those American guys, they can't. After getting directions from a convenience store clerk - in Indian - Kumar says, "Who knew learning Hindi would pay off?" Like it or not, they're first generation hyphenated Americans.
Stupid? Oh, yes...and it has enough crude humour to rivail anything Austin Powers or the Farrelly Brothers have shown us. But there's this intelligence about it that makes it more than it appears.
There's a joke about halfway through the credits. And don't go to see this hungry...you'll be starving when you leave the theatre if you do!