'Harold and Kumar' play up stereotypes

The war on terror goes to pot in "Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo."

Maybe it's just as well. Hollywood has tried high dudgeon and scowling outrage with movies like "Rendition," and the phones at Fandango weren't exactly ringing off the hook.

The "Harold and Kumar" strategy is to approach the subject of Patriot Act excesses with jokes about poop, pee, hookers, drugs, and Neil Patrick Harris.

In this sequel, the title tokers are headed to Amsterdam for legal dope and Harold's girlfriend when Kumar's bong is mistaken for a bomb and the pair (John Cho, Kal Penn) are sent by racist Homeland Security officials to Gitmo to be detained and humiliated.

As opposed to conventionally tortured. The movie posits there are worse things than waterboarding, and one of them is to be guarded by guys who look and act like something out of "Deliverance."

Harold and Kumar break out, and so does a road movie: They escape to Florida and drive to Texas, where they hope the politically connected fiance of Kumar's ex-girlfriend may help them out of their jam.

The running joke in "Guantanamo" is that Asian-American Harold and Kumar are mistaken by a racist/idiot Homeland Security goon (Rob Corddry) for a North Korean and an Arab terrorist, respectively.

It's a funny joke, too - particularly good is a scene of Harold's parents trying to explain to a Homeland Security interrogator/translator that they speak English.

It is a little strange, though, that so much of the movie offers a kind of profiling payback - jokes about inbred white Southerners, Klansmen, etc.

Corddry's Homeland Security boob is the butt of the movie's biggest putdown - he's described as the kind of guy who makes people think Americans are stupid - but I'm not sure that a movie featuring an endless array of stupid Americans will do much to change world opinion. *

Produced by Nathan Kahane, Greg Shapiro, written and directed by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, distributed by New Line Cinema.