A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS
**** (out of 5)
November 4, 2011
Kal Penn as KUMAR
John Cho as HAROLD
Neil Patrick Harris as NPH
Elias Koteas as SERGEI KATSOV
Danny Trejo as MR. PEREZ
Wafflebot as HIMSELF
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
It is not uncommon for me to start a review with a confession. And in the interest of putting all my cards on the table, I want to come clean about something before I dissect the new “Harold & Kumar” movie:
I’m not a pot head. Not even one bit. I’ve never taken a puff, eaten a special brownie or taken it into my body in any other way. I’m not judging here, but it’s just never been my thing. Drugs never have been, aside from an occasional beer or splash or rum in my coffee. In fact, the most powerful thing I’ve ever been on has been a shot of morphine when I had a kidney stone… and that shit just put me to sleep.
But even someone like me, who has never partaken in the herb, can find “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” funny as hell.
The journey of Harold & Kumar has been rocky. When they went to White Castle, it was a fun lark to enjoy on home video, perhaps as a double feature on a lazy Saturday afternoon with “Dude, Where’s My Car?” But their second outing, in which they escape from Guantanamo Bay, was a bit of a disappointment. It had some funny moments, but the movie broke down when it tried to make a political point. Whether you agree with that point or not, I think we can agree that a “Harold & Kumar” stoner comedy isn’t exactly the best platform by which you can talk politics.
So, I was delighted to see that in this outing, they threw away all pretense of politics, decency and respect. The move was made for no other reason to be stupid, obnoxious, offensive, rude, crude and absolutely hilarious.
In “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” we learn that the two stoner friends have gone their separate ways. Harold has entered the financial community (much to the chagrin of a group of protesters occupying the street in front of his office building). He’s trying to live out in the suburbs, start a family and impress his wife’s overpowering father. Meanwhile, Kumar is still stumbling around and getting high. But when a mysterious package sends Kumar over to visit his estranged friend, they get swept up in a journey to find the only remaining Fisher Fir Christmas tree in the city.
It’s a bit of a stretch when it comes to the set-up, but these movies have never really been about plot in the first place. Like a modern-day (with better production value and semblance of an actual script), Harold and Kumar are the Cheech and Chong of this generation. They get into obnoxious and insane scrapes that can only happen on the big screen.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you have an idea of some of the shenanigans that go on. If you haven’t, I’m reluctant to spoil any of the better moments. But there’s plenty of things in here to make non-fans nervous, including teen sex, copious drug humor (much of which includes a toddler), violence, breasts, digs at organized religion and claymation. Yeah, you heard me… claymation and a toddler blitzed on cocaine.
This ain’t your mamma’s Christmas movie.
I suppose a more respectable person would be offended at this, but it’s a movie after all. It’s clear the movie isn’t advocating toddler drug use or reenacting a certain scene from “A Christmas Story” with various body parts. It’s meant to be silly and stupid with the hopes of getting an audience reaction. And it works. These things are hilarious.
And then there’s Neil Patrick Harris, who throws down another brilliant cameo, giving a nod to the series that possibly revitalized his career almost a decade ago. This guy is a hoot, as anyone who has seen “How I Met Your Mother” can attest, and as expected, his brief scenes are the highlight of the movie.
There’s plenty of problems with “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” but they’re all in the context of the ridiculous film that it is. If you’re looking for deep meaning, tight plots and three-dimensional characters, you’re as stupid as the parents that take young children to this film just because it has “Christmas” in the title.