Harold & Kumar Meet Standard Operating Procedure

Two wildly different new movies show how the war on terrorism became both tragedy and farce

John Cho (left) and Kal Penn (right) are Harold and Kumar in New Line Cinema�s upcoming release HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY.

Put America's twentysomethings in a notorious international detention camp, and mischief is bound to ensue: they'll be either the perpetrators or the near victims of systematic torture. That is the message of two new films that have virtually nothing else in common. Together, though, they speak volumes about how American movies address political horror stories: as a tragedy or a joke.

Standard Operating Procedure, from Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War), is a creepily edifying study of the U.S. soldiers who took those horrifying photos at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Then there's the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Escape...

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