Wrapping up Stoner Movie Month is the epitome of a "leave-your-brain-at-the-door" comedy. This film takes the very basics of stoner life and somehow manages to make an adventure comedy from it that single-handedly launched the careers of John Cho and Kal Penn, and resurrected the career of Neil Patrick Harris.
Some may remember the trailer for this, mentioning that it starred "that Asian guy from 'American Pie'" and "that Indian guy from 'Van Wilder'", being the relatively unknown Cho and Penn at the time. As for NPH, the story I heard was that the creators of 'How I Met Your Mother' approached him, wanting that basic character to be the role of Barney. The rest is history.
Anyway, 'Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle' simply profiles two stoners who get high one night in their apartment, get a case of the munchies, and after seeing an appealing commercial, head for White Castle. It's a basic road trip stoner comedy where a bunch of crazy stuff happens to them along the way. Some of it, common stoner problems, but most of it pretty damn ridiculous. Like for example, I'd say the most extreme thing they do here is have them get stoned and ride a cheetah.
And speaking of "extreme", there's also an interesting nostalgia attached to this movie, as there are parts of it that take you back to the early '00s in a big way. Perhaps the biggest example of this are a group of extreme skate punks who constantly pick on Harold and Kumar, using the "extreme" cliche to their comedic advantage. For those who don't remember, quite basically, all the snack food was eventually labelled "extreme" in an attempt to be more appealing and fun. You can still find "Extreme" foods today, but they're not plastered all over the place like they once were. I'm not 100% on it, but I feel like this is where the energy drink phase kicked in as well. But I digress.
This is one of those movies that I can just kinda throw on any old time.The beautiful thing about it is that it IS an extremely (I've gotta stop using that word) basic idea. I mean, what was the pitch? "Two guys get stoned, get the munchies, and have an adventure on the way to get some fast food"? It also speaks to anyone who gets the munchies, not just stoners. If you've ever had that fast food craving, and just had to go out for some burgers and fries, you'll get it.
Of course, do bear in mind that it's a stoner comedy, and often pretty off the wall and stupid. But in a way, I've always found this movie to have a certain charm to it. I can't quite put my finger on it. I fully realize the film is altogether pretty dumb, but because it's a movie about stoners going out for food, it's like you just can't expect anything more. That sounds bad, but I say that as an against-the-grain statement. A lot of critics hate this movie 'cause it's not exactly anything new. But again... it's a comedy movie about two stoners getting food. That's it. You CAN'T expect too much from this.
Over the years, it's actually become a pretty major stoner comedy, ending up on a lot of Top 10 lists on the subject near the top. I honestly think its overall simplicity is what makes it so good for that. It doesn't pretend that it's anything more than a stoner comedy, and the message at the end of it all is seen from a mile away, but still works. I like this one for getting me out of my slumps. It's not my big go-to, but it really never fails to cheer me up either. What can I say, sit back, relax and enjoy. That's all this was made for, and, at least for me, it works.