Same jokes, different season in ‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas’
The Harold & Kumar series began with a witty jaunt to White Castle, landed the boys in Gitmo and now sees them decking the halls in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
This time around, we find Harold (John Cho) happily married and successful. He and his wife, Maria (Paula Garcés), are celebrating Christmas in their immaculately decorated home with her entire family. Harold is eager to please his father-in-law (Danny Trejo) by having the perfect faux Christmas tree, which dear old dad immediately dismisses. He explains the significance of a real Christmas tree and that’s where this entire adventure begins.
Maria’s dad brings the perfect tree, one he grew himself on his own farm. The family leaves Harold alone in the house and Kumar (Kal Penn) shows up with a monster joint. The boys are no longer besties and Harold wants nothing to do with his slacker buddy. Of course, Kumar blazes up in the house anyway and the pristine symbol of Christmas perfection goes up in flames. Naturally, Harold and Kumar have to team up to get a new tree and this quest leads them through a series of dangerous encounters, bizarre situations, boobs, bongs and a little blow.
Harold resists the urge to revisit the first two films and parts ways with Kumar. Instead, he goes on a quest to find a new tree with his new best friend Todd (Thomas Lennon) while Kumar teams up with his stoner friend Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld) to replace the tree he destroyed.
Wouldn’t you know it! Things go completely wrong and they end up pissing off a Ukrainian gangster, giving cocaine to a baby, dancing in a Christmas gala with Neil Patrick Harris and shooting Santa in the face. Merry Christmas!
The plot is obviously nothing to write home about. It’s incredibly predictable and starts to feel like a live-action cartoon after a while. It’s a never-ending series of someone faced with a decision and making the worst possible choice. Sure, the original Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle had a lot of this diverging nonsense (a truck ride with a disgusting red neck, for one) but back then the idea still felt new. How many more times will they continue to use this premise? It’s funny for the first 20 minutes, but by the time we finally arrive at the NPH scene, it seems like the joke has more than run its course.
That being said, there are a few laughs, though mostly from single lines or delivery. The smaller characters add a lot of this flavor. Bobby Lee starts it off as Harold’s assistant, Lennon keeps it going as he tries to keep up with the new, tougher Harold and Blumenfeld delivers on stoned, nerdy humor. Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz are back as Rosenberg and Goldstein and have an amusing scene with the guys in a White Castle. Even little cameos from Patton Oswalt and RZA generate some good laughs.
The humorous overuse of 3D is actually pretty amusing with loads of unnecessary objects including eggs, smoke and even a little cocaine flying towards the camera. It’s always played for a laugh, acknowledging the use of 3D technology in a film that is essentially about two dudes smoking weed and getting into trouble.
Harold & Kumar isn’t exactly marketed as being a terrific movie–and it isn’t–but it delivers on its promise of stoner humor, a few bare breasts and cartoonish antics. Most might find it just so-so, but fans of the series will love it, which is exactly why these movies exist. Harold and Kumar’s Christmas adventure is over, but I’m sure there are loads of comedic scenarios they’ve yet to explore. As NPH says, “I’ll see you in four.”