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Heroes of the Zeroes: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

by on May 9, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle”
Rated R

The plainspoken title said it all about the end destination of 2004’s stoner classic — which fired up more consistent cheeba comedy than Method Man or Redman could with “How High” and presented a sufficient heir to Cheech and Chong’s throne.

Advertisements touting co-stars John Cho and Kal Penn as, respectively, “the Asian guy from ‘American Pie’ and “the Indian guy from ‘Van Wilder’ ” sounded cheap, but played into “White Castle’s” most respectable riffs amidst all the spliffs.

Harold and Kumar took great pride from their awareness of, and battles against, the stereotypes they faced. Why that idea couldn’t be bogarted into 2008’s lackluster sequel, “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” is anyone’s guess. But “White Castle” went to acceptable lengths to make this duo more than the usual idiotic, giggling tokers — taking inspirational cues from “Adventures in Babysitting,” “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” and “Tommy Boy.”

Harold (Cho) is an affable nerd who’d fit right in with the chaps of Lambda Lambda Lambda, while Kumar’s (Penn) mellowed-out demeanor betrays his wild-eyed charm. Together, they embark on a quest to consume Sliders after getting high — one complicated by a pus-faced fellow named Freak Show (a nigh-unrecognizable Christopher Meloni), rabid raccoons and Neil Patrick Harris (eagerly assassinating Doogie Howser’s character in the decade’s second-best celebrity-as-self cameo).

In the end, “White Castle” captured perfectly that ridiculous, but mythical, alpha-male question for a stomach-filling meal regardless of narcotic influences. Once it concluded, the hilarity ensured there would be no comic munchie cravings.