Chief movie critic A.O. Scott's review of the new comedy "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay " opened with a barely concealed Bush-bash:
If you think the last seven years have been one long, dumb, dirty joke - or maybe if, sometimes, you just wish you could believe as much - then "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay," written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, just might be the perfect movie for you. That it is, quite unapologetically, far from perfect in every respect almost doesn't matter. The simple fact that a movie exists with the title "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" is cause for hope. Or maybe for alarm. In any case, for a few laughs.
Scott chides the movie mildly chiding for not going after Bush enough, something Scott would clearly appreciate (one big clue - he goes out of his way to praise Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "incisive satire" of Bush America).
"Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" offers a shambling series of hit-and-miss goofs, rather than incisive satire directed at Bush-era America. That is the job of Mr. Corddry's erstwhile "Daily Show" colleagues Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Mr. Hurwitz and Mr. Schlossberg (who wrote but did not direct "White Castle") instead rely on a general sense of good-humored exasperation that never reaches the boiling point of political indignation.
But precisely because their attitudes are so bluntly hedonistic and apolitical, Harold and Kumar manage to be fairly persuasive when they get around to criticizing the status quo, which the movie has the wit to acknowledge itself as part of.
"It's people like you who make the rest of the world think Americans are stupid. But we're not stupid, and we're not going to take this anymore." These lines are spoken by an exasperated government official, and they could, I suppose, be directed at the makers and stars of "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay." But they're not stupid, and to the extent that the movie is, its idiocy serves the cause of good sense and intelligence. And no, I'm not smoking anything.