Once more, Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) are on a road trip, this time not in search of the perfect late-night slider—a positively Homerian quest—but the old college friend who can clear their good names with the U.S. government after Kumar gets busted trying to light a smokeless bong on an airplane to Amsterdam. A franchise that began as a half-assed, half-baked, but natural Political Statement shrouded in pot smoke now strives too hard for relevancy, and its satire this time around is rendered clunky and clownish—chiefly in the guise of former Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry as Ron Fox, a Homeland Security official who's so determinedly racist that he makes the Ku Klux Klansmen who show up later look cuddly. Corddry, whose acting style has always been too arch and hammy for the big screen, takes one look at Harold and Kumar and immediately decides it's "Al Qaeda and North Korea working together," then ships the twosome off to Gitmo. Broken down into its individual sketches—toilet-paper commercials have more narrative—Guantánamo Bay isn't without its random laughs, most of them courtesy of Neil Patrick Harris as, of course, "Neil Patrick Harris," the way-too-hetero 'shroom junkie tailing a rainbow-riding unicorn on his way to a Texas whorehouse, where he goes to "get my fuck on" moments before brandishing a branding iron.
Penn (left) and Cho get high in Harold.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., April 25. Rated R. 102 minutes.