Nary could a soul in 2004 have predicted that it would be 2011 and we would have another Harold & Kumar movie. This has to be one of the most unlikely franchises of all time, but here we are seven years after the original and these guys have delivered once again. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is just as outrageous and bizarre as its predecessors. The laughs aren’t quite as consistent and you kind of get the feeling that Kal Penn and John Cho are outgrowing this stuff, but it nevertheless delivers for fans of the stoner now-trilogy.
It’s been six years since the Guantanamo Bay fiasco and Harold & Kumar have seemingly begun to live quieter lives. Harold is a successful Wall Street trader (naturally, angry protesters stand outside his building every day) and Kumar, never realizing his medical path, is essentially still a stoner in a dingy apartment. Their friendship has dissipated a little, but they’ve re-connected after Kumar accidentally burns down Harold’s father-in-law’s prized Christmas tree. In a race against time they must find a replacement.
The set-up is always simple and then things begin to spiral out of control. In the span of one night, Harold & Kumar get mixed up with a virgin who’s looking to lose it, the Ukrainian mafia, Claymation, Santa, holiday weed, and much more. For the most part, it works. While there are some forced winks to the previous films and the race stuff gets a bit stale, the blatant abuse of 3D is a lot of fun and the energy level is high (literally!) throughout.
Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg have wisely given up the directorial reigns to Todd Strauss-Schulson, and the result is a better-paced product than Guantanamo Bay and just as wrong on as many levels. As per usual, Neil Patrick Harris, reprising the role that pretty much resurrected his career, steals the show as the Broadway playboy who’s now just playing gay to get the chicks. An extended Claymation sequence is fun and the 3D is constantly throwing stuff in your face; be it pot smoke, boobs, or eggs.
At one point Neil Patrick Harris remarks, “see you in the fourth.” Only box office receipts will tell the story there, but as a third entry into one of the better comedy series of recent years it’s a fun, raunchy ride. No one can be sure of how much pot is left in the pipe from here, but the series’ creativity and ability to take a paper thin plot and stretch it out to a crazy ninety minutes keeps the hope alive for more Harold & Kumar adventures. You won’t hear me complaining.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Length: 90 Minutes
Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
Theatrical Release: November 4, 2011
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Written by: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg.
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garces, Eddie Kaye Thomas, David Krumholtz