Director: Danny Leiner
Screenplay: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
I make it a firm habit never to muck about with the sort of filmmaking that produces work such as Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. However, since the film’s release in 2004, that title, that ridiculously languid title has echoed from the depths of my cerebellum. Now, some six years later, I’ve given in. Well, to be honest, in the end it wasn’t the title that got me to see the film. It was the realization that the film concerned two grown men living together.
It’s not that Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is a good film or a bad film. Such a classification is irrelevant. Rather, the film is utter perfection as a case study of homoeroticism in the contemporary “buddy” comedy.
The “story” of Harold and Kumar involves marijuana and cheeseburgers, with the former barely being edged out by the latter as king. A tremendous quest for cheeseburgers then ensues. From a superficial view point, this is simply two good friends desperate to obtain their favourite meal. But scratch the surface almost effortlessly and what’s buried beneath is crystal clear.
Seen from this perspective, meat and its bewitching allure drives the film as surely as does a libido. In layman’s terms, Harold and Kumar’s quest is a quest for meat, and plenty of it.
So reverential is this meat in fact, that once Harold and Kumar get it, it proves to be the cure for all the problems the boys face with regards to women, bullies or any other conflict that life can throw at them. They’ve stuffed themselves with meat and their hunger has been sated. By the film’s end, both a symbolic as well as a physical penetration has occured in the lads, changing their views on everything and making them realize that their true strength was in them all along and that surprise, surprise, it was hiding.
Still, although the film unearths the great depth of sexual attractions and feelings that Harold and Kumar share toward one another, it tries (in vain) to poke fun at the honest emotions behind what bonds Harold and Kumar. Harold, for example, coming home after a difficult day at work to find Kumar trimming his pubic hair with a set of Harold’s scissors. Kumar licking Harold’s face in order to “revive” him. These sorts of dalliances into the arena of male courting patterns are to be perceived as little more than silly notions of homosexuality between two ostensibly very heterosexual men. In reality, this practice determines that not only are there feelings between these two friends, but also just how tender of a bond those feelings are. For its part, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle soundly fails at dispelling any sort of male intimacy by mocking it. For goodness sake, there’s even a giant penis cut into a wheat field, seen by the pair as they sail by, snuggled up together in a hang glider.
Yet, what quite possibly persists in most endearing me to this film is that below its crack-up of homosexuality, there truly exists a soul. Down beneath the frivolous surface it shines: a world where men form alliances that aren’t broken by women and where alliances with their brethren elevate them to phenomenal plains of ecstasy. Plains of ecstasy, I might add, that came solely from a slab of beef inserted betwixt two pillowy soft buns.