A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)

harold and kumar 3d IMDb

We went ahead and watched A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas now, reasoning that this is a movie similar to Bad Santa— technically about Christmas, but not something we’d actually want to watch around the holidays. Also, given how ambivalent I was to the first two, I thought it best to just wrap this series up. We absolutely made the right choice. This movie was quite terrible, and as likable as John Cho and Kal Penn are, I’m happy to be finished with these two stoners.

At this point the whole drug use gag is running on fumes. This is evidenced by the inclusion of a toddler who spends the entire movie high on various narcotics. It’s a lazy running joke, and actually makes this film seem incredibly tame compared to the first two. In fact, that’s the main problem with 3D Christmas: Harold and Kumar feel old and tired.

To its credit, this movie does do a fair job of pointing out how sad “old” stoners are. Kumar has become this person, a guy who has refused to grow up for a little too long. He’s lost his best friend and his girlfriend due to lack of ambition. It’s a realistic plot point, but seems to clash with the previous two movies. Those two were unabashed celebrations of drug use. This one delves more into personal responsibility and preaches moderation. But then, the two stars are a lot older, and eventually we all need to grow up. I guess I just wasn’t expecting that sort of lesson from a movie like this.

Other than a slightly more grown up plot, there really isn’t anything new to be seen in 3D Christmas. This is a retread of jokes from the first two, placed against a holiday backdrop. That said, it’s not completely devoid of laughs. There is a fun claymation sequence (an animation style I’ve always loved), and Neil Patrick Harris returns in another hysterical cameo. Those aren’t enough to make this a truly enjoyable movie to watch, though. It’s mostly boring, and I’d advise skipping it.

Rating: D

Every now and then this blog will come across a film purely because I wanted to complete the series. I really had not much interest in seeing this final instalment that followed the adventures of lovable stoners, Harold and Kumar, but since I already owned the first two films, I felt obliged to also purchase this third one also.

This third film picks up several years after the second Harold and Kumar movie. The two friends have gone their separate ways between films and have not seen each other in several years. Harold (John Cho) has married his love interest from the previous films (Paula Garces) and is a successful businessman living in New York, while Kumar (Kal Penn) is still drifting through life after his failed relationship with Vanessa (Daneel Harris). It is Christmas time, and all Harold can think about is impressing his perpetually grouchy father in law (Danny Trejo). He wants to get the best Christmas tree he can find, because it is a big deal to his in law. A chance encounter with Kumar ends up costing Harold the perfect tree, so the two have to team up and find one before anyone realises that Harold’s home has no tree. Their journey eventually has them meeting up with constant aid, Neil Patrick Harris (played perfectly by himself), who assists the two getting their tree and getting it home before anyone realises one was missing.

What is most surprising about this film is that it even exists at all. Say what you will about this gross out stoner comedy, the fact this one series has managed to become a trilogy is pretty impressive. While they are below par films, Harold and Kumar have definitely struck a chord with a large enough audience to warrant three films, and I believe there is also an animated series in the works. These films work because of the leads. John Cho and Kal Penn do have terrific chemistry with each other. Neil Patrick Harris is a lot of fun, but these films wouldn’t work at all if the leads weren’t so likable.

This film is not great, the funniest parts revolve around the fact that Neil Patrick Harris has created a gay persona and pays a man (Harris’s real life husband, David Burtka) to play his lover while in reality he is a drug addict with a penchant for hookers and strippers.

Rating: D+


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