A lower rent “Dude, Where’s My Car”, this stoner comedy benefits from a pair of more likeable leads, better cameos, and quite a few good laughs. Yet it’s not a film that people are going to walk away from quoting or talking about the way that “Dude” has managed to do in recent years.
The sort of “Road Trip” meets “Cheech & Chong” tone yields a silly but easily likeable atmosphere to what is essentially various sketches loosely strung together to form a journey to get a bunch of White Castle burgers. In terms of marketing, the chain must be happy as this has to be one of the most visible product placement deals ever made for a film.
The comedy elements have been done plenty of times before – the freaky mechanic with the slutty wife, the rabid raccoon, the geeky Asian students who turn out to be rockers, there’s even a “Battleshits” game involving who can make the grossest fart noise. Yes the humour is pure base level, there’s no question of that. Cameos are also used to fun effect from the likes of Anthony Anderson, Ryan Reynolds, Fred Willard and Neil Patrick Harris.
Yet it’s the witty acerbic energy of the Indian-American Penn playing against the straight up foil Cho which carries it all. The pair have a realness to them missing from much of the other gross out teen comedies of late. Amongst all the over the top stupidity, they keep it all grounded. The script follows along the usual routes and takes almost no unpredictable turns. The gags may be forgettable but the warm humour isn’t. Even stone cold sober, “Harold & Kumar” manage to rise higher than most films of this type.