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Jon Hurwitz

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ENTERTAINMENT
November 4, 2011 | By Michael Phillips, Tribune Newspapers critic
Comic effrontery is the Bic that lights the bong in the "Harold & Kumar" movies, but willfully strained outrageousness can turn sour like that. For a definition of "that," there's "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," the weakest of the three. Here, the boy-men — now 30-ish men-boys, dealing with adult concerns and relationships, in addition to their perpetual White Castle jones — hunt down a Christmas tree, mix it up with Ukranian gangsters, briefly turn into Claymation-type animated versions of themselves, consort with virgins and meet Santa.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 4, 2011 | By Michael Phillips, Tribune Newspapers critic
Comic effrontery is the Bic that lights the bong in the "Harold & Kumar" movies, but willfully strained outrageousness can turn sour like that. For a definition of "that," there's "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," the weakest of the three. Here, the boy-men — now 30-ish men-boys, dealing with adult concerns and relationships, in addition to their perpetual White Castle jones — hunt down a Christmas tree, mix it up with Ukranian gangsters, briefly turn into Claymation-type animated versions of themselves, consort with virgins and meet Santa.
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NEWS
July 29, 2004 | Lisa Rosen, Special to The Times
The film "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" opens normally enough for a teen comedy -- two young white guys are racing out of their office to try to "get some." They turn to the requisite Asian cubicle drone, Harold, and half cajole, half bully him into doing their work. He reluctantly agrees, and they run off singing. Suddenly, though, we veer off the beaten-to-death track. The movie shifts to Harold (John Cho), who morphs from drone to person.
NEWS
July 29, 2004 | Lisa Rosen, Special to The Times
The film "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" opens normally enough for a teen comedy -- two young white guys are racing out of their office to try to "get some." They turn to the requisite Asian cubicle drone, Harold, and half cajole, half bully him into doing their work. He reluctantly agrees, and they run off singing. Suddenly, though, we veer off the beaten-to-death track. The movie shifts to Harold (John Cho), who morphs from drone to person.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 1, 2008 | Ron Magid
How do you make the United States' most controversial prison funny? Do nothing, says Tony Fanning, production designer for the stoner comedy sequel, "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay." "I consciously stayed away from anything I thought was hokey," says Fanning, whose eclectic credits include theater and such high-tech films as Robert Zemeckis' "Polar Express" and Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds." "The more believable it is, the funnier things are."
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2008 | Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Greasy, hazy good fun, 2004's "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" got by on a 4 a.m. mixture of explosive-emission toilet jokes, gratuitous nudity and Neil Patrick Harris as himself. Everything took place in one night, hinging on a single quest rife with detours. Crass? Yes. But there was a merry spirit to it all. A far more strident sort of crassness pervades "Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay." The sequel picks up and tokes up where the original left off.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 30, 2004 | Kevin Crust, Times Staff Writer
Buried deep (very, very deep) beneath the scatological and pharmacological surfaces of the burger comedy "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" is a smarter movie, one in which the humor is rooted in character and not bodily fluids. Sure, it's a typically idiotic, gross-out, R-rated movie aimed at 15-year-old boys, featuring a pair of guys obsessively pursuing an object of banal desire, but there is also something more. It's there, but you have to look closely and quickly or you'll miss it.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 8, 2008 | Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters
Marijuana is not just for dopes anymore, at least not in Hollywood. Thirty years after comedians Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong popularized the myth of stoners as amiable goofballs in "Up in Smoke," film and television producers are instead portraying pot smokers as regular folks from all walks of life. On TV, there is "Weeds," which became a hit on cable network Showtime following its 2005 debut. It revolves around a widowed mom who deals dope to make ends meet.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 6, 2012 | By Michael Phillips, Tribune Newspapers critic
Sweeping aside the film's weirdest unasked question — who goes to their 13th high school reunion? — the characters created by Adam Herz for the 1999 hit "American Pie" return for a rather tired sequel called "American Reunion," in which poor, desperate Jim Levenstein's genitals once again get their ears boxed (metaphorically speaking), and Stifler's way with nubile 17-year-olds doesn't seem quite as obnoxiously sprightly as it once did, given that Stifler is now supposed to be in his early 30s and the actor, Seann William Scott, is 35. The movie acknowledges this queasy disconnect, though acknowledging it doesn't make it much funnier.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2006 | Jay A. Fernandez, Special to The Times
Few moments are more exhilarating for a screenwriter -- you know, other than that whole artistic breakthrough thing -- than becoming a millionaire off a mere pitch. And few moments are more miserable than being told that, well ... the studio has, uh, changed its mind. When Geoff Rodkey ("Daddy Day Care," "RV") shopped around his idea for a "Scary Movie"-like parody of the family film genre back in mid-April, he was in a particularly strong position.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2008 | Josh Friedman, Times Staff Writer
The folks behind Universal Pictures' new comedy "Baby Mama" must feel a bit like the guy in that old pop song: "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right." The female buddy movie starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, opening today on the final weekend before the summer movie season, had been scheduled to come out a week ago.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2007 | Jay A. Fernandez, Special to The Times
The elegiac title and murderous conclusion of "The Departed" may have signaled a brutal, blood-red finality, but in Hollywood any potential franchise can be revived by a strong-enough dose of green. "The Departed" is by far director Martin Scorsese's biggest hit, with a gross of more than $260 million worldwide -- a number bound to escalate if the intricate thriller wins an Oscar next month for best picture (one of its five Academy Award nominations).
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