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A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Comedy
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2011


Movie Review - 'A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas'

by Adam Pavlacka on Nov. 4, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

After years of growing apart, Harold Lee and Kumar Patel have replaced each other with new friends and are preparing for the holidays. Kumar's attempt to redirect a mysterious package to Harold's house ends with the "high grade" contents — and his father-in-law's prize Christmas tree — going up in smoke. Harold and Kumar's search for a replacement tree takes them through party heaven - and almost blows Christmas Eve sky high.

When we last saw Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn), everything was right with their world. Sure, they'd spent time in Guantanamo Bay, smoked out with the President and left Neil Patrick Harris for dead, but ultimately, they both got their girl and were set to live happily ever after. As it turns out, that wasn't quite the case. Six years of movie time later, and the two best buds are anything but. It's going to take a Christmas miracle of epic proportions to rekindle the magic between these two, and "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" delivers the goods.

Just as much a feel-good holiday movie as it is raunchy and over the top, "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" doesn't shy away from anyone — or anything — when it comes to making a joke. Nothing is sacred and everything is a punch line, yet it all works because the two leads play it straight almost the entire time.

As the film opens, Harold is successful, living in the suburbs with his beautiful wife Maria (Paula Garcés). Kumar, on the other hand, is estranged from his girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Ackles) and living in a crappy apartment in the city. Harold's biggest concern in life is impressing his imposing father-in-law (Danny Trejo), while Kumar can only think about his next high. Their paths become destined to cross when a mysterious package shows up at Kumar's place, addressed to Harold.

Trying to do right by his old friend, Kumar brings the package to Harold's new home. Upon opening, the two find a magic blunt. Kumar lights it up, but Harold says he's quit smoking weed and tosses it out the window. One magically inspired U-turn later and the joint sets Harold's Christmas tree on fire. With mere hours to find a replacement before his in-laws return from midnight mass, Harold and Kumar set off on what may be their strangest adventure yet.

Attempting to describe the plot any further would likely be an exercise in futility because once the pistons start firing, watching the events of the film unfold is a lot like riding a roller coaster. The gags come fast and furiously, with jokes alternating between witty banter and physical comedy. Cinema fans will appreciate the references to other films, from the "Matrix" to "A Christmas Story," with the latter providing inspiration for a humorous scene.

The producers also weren't afraid to try out new things, bringing in both a Claymation segment as well as an old-school musical number. Yes, Harold and Kumar get their groove on, right alongside a spaztastic Harris.

Once again playing an over-the-top version of himself, Harris steals every scene he's in. The man's been to heaven and back, he can read minds and he pretends to be gay just so he can pick up chicks. Oh, and he's also shilling one badass toy in the form of WaffleBot.

A commentary on product placement, unconditional love and hatred of pancakes all rolled into one, WaffleBot is the "WTF?" cherry placed on top of the crazy sundae that is "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas." He even ranks above the pot-smoking, coke-snorting, ecstasy-downing toddler. What? You expected a family-friendly film?

If you happen to be easily offended, then "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" is not a movie you want to see. While none of the jokes are mean-spirited, nothing is safe. There are sex jokes, racial jokes, drug jokes, religious jokes, gay jokes, plenty of exposed 3-D boobs, 3-D penises, and more. Know that, whatever your beliefs, the movie probably skewers them without a second thought. If you can roll with that, you're likely to laugh up a storm.

Not every joke in the movie is a winner, though the rapid-fire pace of the plot means there's never a dull moment. If something falls flat, the next crack is just around the corner.

In a movie which exists for the sole reason to poke fun at anything and everything, it shouldn't be a surprise that the 3-D effect is also a joke. "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" uses 3-D in ways that would normally be seen as utterly pointless, yet when played out on-screen, often ends up being a gag in and of itself. Even the actual product placement is a joke, such as when you see mobsters killing time by playing Mafia Wars.

In "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas," everything is there for the sole purpose of having fun. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy lowbrow comedy, it's not to be missed.

Score: 8.5/10

"A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It is showing in 2-D and 3-D.

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