A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is not going to surprise anyone. It follows the same successful formula and chemistry between John Cho and Kal Penn as the first two. But even though it may not have lived up to the previous ones, Harold and Kumar prove once again that as far as epic stoner comedies go, they can’t be beat. It is a bit hard to put this plot into words but when Kumar comes over and accidentally burns down the tree, they then have to find a new one, steal it from a drug-lord gangster thug, try to not rape his daughter, crash a musical production of The Nutcracker, and limit the number of people they shoot. Oh, and of course it is in 3-D.
The star power helps too- while they may be getting a bit old (Cho is 40 years old! Damn!), Cho really does prove himself as the talented actor he is here. The 3D experience was better in this movie than most I’ve seen in years. It was consistent throughout, no eyestrain, very clean, and had some nice out-of-screen effects that paired well with the comedy. The only real negative I can say about the humor is, even though I expected crude humor, the baby jokes almost completely destroy the film with her inhaling marijuana smoke and cocaine. The result isn’t laughter, but a cringing factor that can easily destroy a comedy film. However, the movie reminded me why I love the characters, and made me feel like the holidays were happening right now. Take it as just a movie, have a good time, talk about it with friends and you’ll enjoy it.
Now with such a commercial and carefree title, this is an obvious one you don’t watch with half a brain. It packs in the most politically incorrect jokes its little heart desires while saying “F.U.” to every prudish, overly-sensitive audience member. Gone are the comical-yet-convincing minor characters like the racist Homeland Security Agent (Rob Corddry), the infatuated Male Nurse (Ryan Reynolds), and the helpless Interpreter (Ed Helms). Questionably weaker ones replace these: Kumar’s new-BFF, Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld), overstays his welcome, as does Harold’s father-in-law (an unexpectedly pedestrian Danny Trejo), and wimpish friend (Thomas Lennon). Sadly, even returning characters, such as bickering Jewish-stoners Rosenberg and Goldstein don’t bring the laughs like they once did. Needless to say, some gags work, others don’t, as goes most comedy fares these days.
One thing that surprised me though is the lack of race and marijuana jokes that the first two films devoted their humor to. Most of the humor in this movie comes from either the 3D effects or having way over-the-top stuff occur. There is an unfortunate claymation episode and a ridiculous musical ensemble which is only there to showcase Neil Patrick Harris. However, the humor, the shocking set-ups and pay-offs the character relentlessly dodge, and the overall extreme and foulness of the whole mess frequently work. Despite every effort to attack religion, there’s some worthwhile lessons crammed into A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. Harold and Kumar are forced confront loyalty, responsibility, aging, and manning up. It’s also worth noting that this is the only mainstream, non-white comedy series that doesn’t rely on race. All in all, a fun way to spend 90 minutes…nothing more.