As a fan of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, I really didn't think they could recapture the magic of the first film in the sequel. Sequels are, so often, horrible disappointments. But the World Premiere of Harold & Kumar Escape from Gauntanamo Bay last night as Austin's SXSW Film Festival was simply awesome. The audience loved America's favorite slackers on their next adventure as their trip to Amsterdam goes incredibly wrong.
Whereas the first film challenged racism and stereotyping, this one continued the theme into issues of racial profiling and War on Terror paranoia. These multicultural slackers are becoming American every-men that we can all relate to. While there are times when Harold & Kumar's antics are just plain silly, they are also incredible human characters who are struggling with real challenges around parents, romance, friendship, the law, and race. Harold & Kumar make us laugh while they also challenge our perceptions and expectations of social and political reality.
Cho and Penn were wonderful reprising their original roles. Neal Patrick Harris was back again as a strange variant of himself. Rod Corddry provides a wonderful addition to the cast as the completely paranoid government agent. Overall, the film is perhaps a tad below the original, but a tad below excellent is still a wonderful comic romp that all fans of the original and many new fans should enjoy. Unlike the first film which gained a cult following on DVD, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guatanamo Bay will undoubtedly be a huge hit in the theaters. The audience here in Austin absolutely loved the two lovable anti-heroes. I look forward to many more adventures from Harold and Kumar.