Hollywood and Diversity: Subversion, Apologetic, or Both? Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Dir. Danny Leiner. New Line Cinema, 2004 [Book review]

2017-05-17T11:25:01Z (GMT) by Sina Rahmani
With the release of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, many popular commentators and critics heralded the film as Hollywood's sincere at- tempt at diversifying popular cinema. Two years earlier, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington—two of Hollywood's most eminent black actors—both won Oscars for leading roles. Apparently, Hollywood had finally begun to give serious attention to issues of race and representation. Considering Hollywood's poor track record for dealing with controversial subject matter, it should not be surprising that Harold and Kumar is not the subversive film that these commentators made it out to be. Indeed, the film is contradictory in nature, and, in the end, fails to put forth a progressive and politically subversive line of thinking (although this is not to ignore the fact that Harold and Kumar represents a profound moment in Hollywood history for actors-of-colour). With the reception of the film being largely positive—not just in terms of film quality but as raising hope for a more diverse (read: progressive) Hollywood—the political failings of the film are that much more glaring.