Yes that’s right. BFF’s Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are indeed endearing in their own pot-smoking crass totally inept way--and movie No. 2 continues to prove it. It starts a couple hours after they’ve successfully completed their White Castle quest with Harold’s vow to follow his lady love to Amsterdam. At the airport Kumar runs into his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) and is shocked to discover she’s about to get married to a guy he considers a real “douche bag.” But once they make it onto the plane all manner of hell breaks loose: Mistaken for terrorists (yes it does have something to do with marijuana and a bong) the two end up escaping from Guantanamo Bay and embarking on one outrageous misadventure after another to clear their names--and wreck Vanessa’s wedding in the process. High times dude! It’s funny that this week’s new movies features two sets of Odd Couples: Baby Mama’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and the reteaming of Penn and Cho who simply click on all cylinders as the pot-smoking former college roommates who couldn’t be more different yet so connected. Even though you cringe at the ridiculous predicaments they find themselves in these two guys sell it lock stock and barrel. Supporting them is Daily Show’s Rob Corddry who overplays it as the hard-ass bigoted Homeland Security agent going after the boys. But it’s the weird characters they meet along the way that make the Harold & Kumar movies including The Office’s Ed Helms as an interpreter; Missi Pyle as a forward-thinking Southern hick; and of course Neil Patrick Harris once again playing himself as a debauched mushroom-taking unicorn-spotting moron. Harris’ appearance in the first Harold & Kumar showed everyone just how funny he is leading to his hilarious turn in the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother. This just solidifies it. Writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg probably never thought they’d be back again after their first Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle effort. But here they are doing it all over again. Maybe it was a fluke the original touched a comical nerve in those Gen-X slackers who made H&K the new Cheech and Chong of the 21st Century but there’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned stoner movie. Unfortunately for Guantanamo Bay however Hurwitz and Schlossberg try to outdo themselves by making it even more raunchy (the “bottom-less” party is quite something) more offensive (the mongoloid cycloptic lovechild of hick incestuous parents) and more ridiculous (smoking out with President Bush?) than it should be. That simplicity of the original is lost. But don’t worry Guantanamo Bay isn’t a complete wash. You’ll still laugh plenty.
Little Timmy Jensen is your typical 10-year-old kid who's afraid of the big bad Boogeyman lurking in his closet. But one night when Timmy's dad comes in his room to do the usual "Nope nothing's there" routine he opens the closet-and right before Timmy's eyes is immediately sucked in by some unknown malevolent force. That's got to screw with a kid's head. Now 15 years later Tim (Barry Watson) is indeed messed up inherently apprehensive of closets and the dust bunnies under the bed but trying to move on with his life. That is until his mother unexpectedly dies sending Tim back to the point of origin: his dilapidated childhood home in the sticks. He decides he'll spend one night in the house to get over his fears once and for all and accept the fact his dad just "left." Ah if it were only that easy.
When the entire film rests on the shoulders of the guy who played the oldest son on the WB's 7th Heaven you know you're not in for anything meaningful in the way of acting. But that's fine. Horror films of this nature aren't about good acting. They are about dumb folks walking into even dumber situations. Watson fulfills his duties as said hero nicely by a) looking fearfully at and inside a lot of closets and under a lot of beds and b) walking cautiously around empty houses. The rest of the unknown cast also do their best as the Boogeyman's victims and potential victims. They include Tory Mussett (The Matrix Reloaded) as Tim's cutesy girlfriend Emily Deschanel (The Alamo) as Tim's long-lost childhood sweetheart and Skye McCole Bartusiak (The Patriot) as a mysterious little girl who guides Tim in the right direction to defeating the Boogeyman. Clever girl.
OK it's sort of understandable how Boogeyman got made. The film's premise has a built-in scare factor that's tapped into our childhood fears of the darkened closet. Yet once you get past this initial idea there just has to be more substance than Boogeyman provides. Director Stephen T. Kay (Get Carter) goes through all the right motions setting up the camera to make it look as if the Boogeyman is lurking everywhere you turn. But it's a very very long buildup to the climax. After about the 1 000th close-up shot of a closet door you're ready to jump onscreen and churn up some good scares yourself. By the time the anticlimactic showdown actually happens you already have your foot out the door just thankful it's coming to an end.