Harold & Kumar

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Harold & Kumar
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.JPG
Theatrical poster to the first film
Directed byDanny Leiner (1)
Jon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg (2)
Todd Strauss-Schulson (3)
Produced byGreg Shapiro
Written byJon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg
StarringJohn Cho
Kal Penn
Neil Patrick Harris
Music byDavid Kitay
George S. Clinton
CinematographyBruce Douglas Johnson
Daryn Okada
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Jeff Freeman
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Warner Bros.
Release dates2004–2011
Running time83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$ 40 million
Box office$ 102 million
 
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Harold & Kumar
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.JPG
Theatrical poster to the first film
Directed byDanny Leiner (1)
Jon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg (2)
Todd Strauss-Schulson (3)
Produced byGreg Shapiro
Written byJon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg
StarringJohn Cho
Kal Penn
Neil Patrick Harris
Music byDavid Kitay
George S. Clinton
CinematographyBruce Douglas Johnson
Daryn Okada
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Jeff Freeman
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Warner Bros.
Release dates2004–2011
Running time83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$ 40 million
Box office$ 102 million

Harold & Kumar is the name for a series of stoner comedy films starring John Cho (Harold) and Kal Penn (Kumar). The first film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was released on July 30, 2004, by New Line Cinema and spawned a sequel titled Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, released four years later. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, the third installment of the series, opened nationwide in the U.S. on November 4th, 2011.

Despite some mixed critical responses, the series has been a financial success. The first two films, produced on a total budget of US$21 million, grossed $67 million worldwide. In addition to their box office grosses, the first two films were extremely successful on home video. The series has been released on both Blu-ray and DVD.

Series[edit]

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)[edit]

Harold Lee and Kumar Patel are two Asian-American (Korean and Indian) stoners who get the munchies and embark on a quest throughout New Jersey for White Castle burgers after seeing them advertised on TV. On their way they encounter many obstacles, including a gang of extreme sports punks, a raccoon with an attitude, a group of Asian nerds, a racist police department, a cheetah that has escaped from a zoo, and an out-of-control Neil Patrick Harris.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)[edit]

Following the events of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold Lee and Kumar Patel fly to Amsterdam so Harold can pursue a budding romance with his vacationing neighbor. The pair run into Vanessa, Kumar's ex-girlfriend, and her fiancé Colton, another old college buddy who helped Harold with getting a job at Brewster-Keagan, at the airport. During the plane flight, an elderly woman sees Kumar lighting a hand-crafted smokeless bong, who thinks that it is a bomb, and screams "Terrorist!". After a confusion of the words "bong" and "bomb", two undercover air marshals tackle Kumar, who accidentally drops the bong on the floor, breaking it and releasing what another passenger thinks is "Poison gas!". Harold and Kumar are detained by Ron Fox, a neurotic Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, in Washington, D.C., who then sends them to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. But just as they are about to eat a "cockmeat sandwich", the neighboring prisoners assault the guards and they are able to escape back to the United States. They meet with their college friend, Raza, who arranges a car for them to travel to Texas in search of Colton, a member of a family who has connections with political officials. On the way to Texas, they encounter various people from an inbred trailer home family to the Ku Klux Klan to Neil Patrick Harris.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)[edit]

In April 2009, Kal Penn accepted the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison in the Obama administration; when asked if his new job would mean no more Harold and Kumar films, he said, "That's probably true for now."[1]

A new film entitled A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was announced on May 7, 2009, for release on December 5, 2010 at the earliest and possibly deferred to the 2011 holiday season.[2] Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg returned to write the film while Todd Strauss-Schulson directed. Greg Shapiro returned as producer with Kal Penn and John Cho reprising their title roles.[3][4] Penn left his job with the White House on June 1, 2010 to reprise his role as Kumar in the third Harold & Kumar installment.[5] After filming was completed, Penn returned to the White House.[6]

Characters[edit]

Harold Lee[edit]

Harold Lee is a Korean American investment banker who resides in New Jersey. The character was created by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and is portrayed by John Cho in all three films.

In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold is a hard-working man from the northern part of New Jersey. His lazy best friend and roommate is Kumar Patel. At times, Harold lets go of his inhibitions, but only during moments of extreme duress, to the point where he amazes his wild friend Kumar. Harold is the yin to Kumar's yang, with the both of them being united through their enjoyment of cannabis smoking after a long day's work and or leisurely fun (such as aboard an airplane in the sequel, and an after work "Friday night special" in the first film).

Harold's romantic life centers around John Hughes-like fancies (as is evidenced by his infatuation with film classics such as Sixteen Candles). Harold thinks that he'll wind up with a similarly repressed Korean-American young woman—Cindy Kim—who isn't as repressed as he thinks. The true object of Harold's desire, however, is Maria Perez (played by Paula Garces), who lives down the hall from him in his building.

In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, when embarking on their trip to Amsterdam they are arrested on the flight there after Kumar tests out his "smokeless bong" in the airplane lavatory. Then the two are sent to Guantanamo Bay where they are involved in a series of comedic events. In one of Kumar's flashbacks, it is revealed that Harold used to be an emo kid back in college.

In A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Harold is married to Maria and hasn't spoken to Kumar in years. The two are reunited and rekindle their friendship after Kumar brings over a package for Harold that arrived at their old apartment. Inside the package is a marijuana joint, which winds up burning down Harold's Christmas tree; after an eventful night of looking for a replacement tree, it is revealed that the package was a gift from Santa Claus, who wanted the two to become friends again.

Kumar Patel[edit]

Kumar Patel is an Indian American student residing in New Jersey. His family includes his father and brother Saikat Patel. The character was created by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and is portrayed by Kal Penn in all three films.

In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Kumar Patel is a 22-year-old college graduate. He shares an apartment with best friend, Harold Lee. Unlike Harold, Kumar is a free spirited, outgoing rebel who is not afraid to do what he wants. Kumar is the yang to Harold's yin, with the both of them being united through their enjoyment of cannabis smoking after a long day's work and or leisurely fun (such as aboard an airplane in the sequel, and an after work "Friday night special" in the first film). Both his father and brother are successful doctors and expect him to follow in their footsteps. Though not interested in school, Kumar is remarkably intelligent and knows how to perform complex surgical procedures, as shown in the film while looking for medicinal marijuana at the hospital.

In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, it is revealed that he had a girlfriend Vanessa in college, who introduced him to marijuana and transformed him from an uptight geek into the laid-back stoner he is today. She is about to get married to sleazy, deceptive frat boy Colton Graham (who disapproves of her marijuana habit), but Kumar interrupts the wedding and wins her back by reciting "Square Root of 3," a math themed love poem that he was afraid to show her in college. Harold, Kumar and Vanessa then go to Amsterdam to find Maria, Harold's love interest.

In A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Kumar hasn't spoken to Harold in years. The two are reunited and rekindle their friendship after Kumar brings over a package for Harold that arrived at their old apartment. Inside the package is a marijuana joint, which winds up burning down Harold's Christmas tree; after an eventful night of looking for a replacement tree, it is revealed that the package was a gift from Santa Claus, who wanted the two to become friends again. Vanessa tells Kumar she is pregnant shortly after their breakup, but believes that Kumar is not mature enough to raise their child. After his adventure, Kumar tells Vanessa he has matured and very much wants to raise the baby with her, even offering to return to medical school and give up marijuana. Vanessa decides to give him another chance, also telling him he shouldn't give up his favorite recreational activity.

Neil Patrick Harris[edit]

All three films feature Neil Patrick Harris playing a fictionalized version of himself. In the films, Harris is portrayed as a heavy drug user and womanizer, despite being openly gay in real life. While Harris didn't publicly come out until 2006, after White Castle was released and after Guantanamo Bay takes place, in the third film it's revealed Harris is only pretending to be gay to help him have sex with women. His real-life partner David Burtka appears as a fictionalized version of himself who is also Harris' drug dealer.

In an interview with Ain't It Cool News, Neil Patrick Harris revealed that the series' writers were discussing the possibility of a spin-off movie based on his fictional persona.[7]

Rosenberg and Goldstein[edit]

Andy Rosenberg and Seth Goldstein are two Jewish friends and counterparts of Harold and Kumar portrayed by Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz. They live in the same apartment building as Harold and Kumar. In the third movie, Goldstein stated he had converted to Christianity after marrying his wife.

Reception[edit]

Box-office performance[edit]

FilmRelease dateBox office revenueBox office rankingBudgetReference
United StatesForeignWorldwideAll time domesticAll time worldwide
Harold & Kumar Go to White CastleJuly 30, 2004$18,250,550 (76.2%)$5,686,358 (23.8%)$23,936,908#1,863$9,000,000[8]
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo BayApril 25, 2008$38,108,728 (87.6%)$5,384,395 (12.4%)$43,493,123#1,553$12,000,000[9]
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D ChristmasNovember 4, 2011$35,061,031 (99.1%)$326,181 (0.9%)$35,387,212#777$19,000,000[10]
Total$91,420,309$11,396,934$102,817,243$40,000,000

Critical reception[edit]

FilmRotten TomatoesMetacritic
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle74%[11]64[12]
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay53%[13]57[14]
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas69%[15]61[16]
Average ratings65%61

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monez, Mindy (April 7, 2009). "'House': The Truth Behind the Shocking Surprise". Television Without Pity, Yahoo! TV. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  2. ^ "It's Going to be a 'Very Harold and Kumar Christmas'". MTV Movies Blog. May 7, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Harold and Kumar 3 Announced". Slashfilm.com. July 25, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 24, 2008). "'Harold & Kumar' set for third puff". Variety. Retrieved August 2, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Kal Penn Leaving Washington to Reprise Role in Harold & Kumar". 
  6. ^ "Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job After Leaving To Film 'Harold & Kumar' Sequel". abcnews.com. November 15, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ Ain't It Cool News: Quint chats with Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris! Possible NPH spin-off movie?!? And a tidbit on STAR TREK![1]
  8. ^ "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  9. ^ "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  10. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  11. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  12. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  13. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  14. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  15. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  16. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 

External links[edit]