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Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A-
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A/A

Directed by: Danny Leiner
Written by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Produced by: Nathan Kahane and Greg Shapiro
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Christopher Meloni, Paula Garces, Neil Patrick Harris, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

"Yeah, just 'cause you're hung like a moose doesn't mean you gotta do porn."

Throughout the history of film, comedies featuring stoner duos have always been popular entertainment. Cheech and Chong, Bill and Ted and Jay and Silent Bob are all prime examples. A new addition to that ever-growing list is Harold and Kumar from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg based the two main characters on people they knew in real life and the result is fantastic. From the trailers, one might think this is just another run-of-the-mill gross-out comedy but that is not the case at all. Like American Pie or, more recently, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Harold & Kumar is a surprisingly very well-written film that's both funny and sweet at the same time.

The diligent and somewhat uptight Harold Lee (John Cho of the American Pie series) and the laidback, carefree Kumar Patel (Kal Penn, Van Wilder) are just getting ready for a long weekend of watching TV and smoking pot. Suddenly stricken with a bad case of the munchies, the two see a commercial for White Castle hamburgers and decide that they absolutely must have White Castle to satisfy their craving. With that only goal in mind, Harold and Kumar set out for a night-long road trip filled with twists, turns and outrageous characters including Freakshow (Christopher Meloni) the extremely ugly, wart-faced simpleton who gives them a ride after wrecking their car. Will they ever find their precious hamburgers?

The writers have crafted a devilishly clever screenplay, probably the first one to feature Asian and Indian men as the main characters. John Cho and Kal Penn are hilariously fantastic in this film and they play their characters perfectly. Harold & Kumar is a real gem and is destined to become a cult classic. An "A-" for the film. New Line has included the longer, raunchier unrated version on this DVD and since I didn't see it theatrically I can tell no difference (not that I would if I had seen it in theaters). I have to say, all these unrated versions that are constantly being released are really getting on my nerves because there's usually only a minute or two of extra footage included. Shenanigans! As per their usual, New Line has really done well with the video and audio on this release with no apparent problems found in the transfer or sound mix.

There's a huge amount of extras included on this release, proving once again that New Line really knows how to do DVD right. The first extra is "John Cho and Kal Penn: The Backseat Interview," in which comic Bobby Lee interviews the two stars of the film. There are three audio commentaries for your listening pleasure on this disc. The first features director Danny Leiner and the film's two stars, the second and best commentary features the two screenwriters and the real Harold Lee and the third is the "extreme" commentary with Danny Bochart who plays Extreme Sports Punk #1 in the film. "The Art of the Fart" is a brief featurette on the film's various sound effects, mostly during one key scene.

A series of cast and crew interviews labeled "Drive-Thru Bites" is included along with "A Trip to the Land of Burgers," which looks at an animated sequence in the film. Nine deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary and a music video have additionally been included. Rounding out the disc is a gag reel and a series of trailers for this film and other New Line releases. Overall, this is a great package with tons of extras that's worth purchasing.

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