Sorry I’m late, Harold and Kumar were kind of boring

I’m often late.  Whether it is a party, church, a wedding, or band practice (although to be fair, we do run those on band time which is usually 10 to 30 minutes behind normal time), I have been known to arrive late.  So it should not surprise you that I watched both Harold and Kumar movies this past weekend when at least one of them has been available for public consumption for some time.  I’m going to give a disclaimer here, I didn’t sit down and watch them start to finish, my weekend has too many interruptions for that.  I instead watched an hour on the computer, 20 minutes on the TV, etc. until I had finished both.  So there is probably an argument to be made for continuity.  I know I’m not really causing suspense here, you already get the idea I didn’t like the movies.

The lead rolls, who had been supporting members in such upstanding vehicles as American Pie and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, were each good not only individually, but also working together.  It’s always good to see a quick cameo Fred Willard.  In my opinion they could have expanded his role a bit, but I realize this was about a quest.  In fact each film was a quest, the first for burgers, the second for baking (so to speak).  The entrance of Neil Patrick Harris certainly became more of a highlight to the point that when he (spoiler alert?) dies in the second one (thanks to Beverly D’AngeloClark!”) it was most disappointing.  NPH (using his brand stamp, see I did watch the movie) has added himself to the list of actors who are comfortable playing self parodies.  Number one on that list is and always will be Alec Baldwin.  His work on SNL and 30 Rock alone have given him a permanent place in the self parody hall of fame.  William Shatner ranks second only because I’m not sure he believes he is a self parody rather a quite serious actor (see Rocket Man, or an even better version).  We have to use real actors here which leaves out Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin but not Neil Patrick Harris.  He appears in the films as himself, former Doogie Howser, and continues his persona in the currently airing until CBS starts cutting good programming like the rest of them How I met your mother.  Also, strange coincidence, he’s 2 days younger than me. 

Back to the film.  Are stoner comedies lazy?  Or is that a rhetorical question?  There were funny scenes, disgusting scenes that I’m sure drew a groan from the audience in theatres, some sappy scenes, and the obligatory “we’re having fun smoking stuff and running around, shopping, riding bikes, etc.” montage.  You know what?  I think it just hit me.  This type of movie is what you’d call a group movie.  You need to watch it in a group.  I think it’s the same reason Revenge of the Nerds, American Pie, Porky’s, etc. survive the test of time.  (I’m leaving Animal House out because that was a classic).  Even now, would you watch Top Gun alone?  Probably not.  But if you had a group of friends and you were in the mood to mock the volleyball scene, cringe at Goose’s piano playing, wonder how much older Kelly McGillis was than Tommy, you could see that happening.  I would hope that at least a beer would be consumed and no one was driving after.  So I’m thinking the next time I have the urge to sit through something in this vein, perhaps I’ll call a few people to enjoy the pain and absurdity of what passes as comedy.  By the way, did I miss the Seth Rogan cameos in both these movies or were they made before he signed that contract that said he had to be in every film that involved controlled substances?


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