Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Rated: R

Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Danny Trejo

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Genre: Comedy

On the raunch meter, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is on a par with Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses. But because the theme is Christmas, there are additional sacred cows to be sacrificed to the gods of gross-out humor. No one--and I mean NO ONE--is immune!

The plot here is to get the estranged buddies--Harold, (John Cho) who is now a Wall Street businessman, and Kumar, (Kal Penn) still a slacker and a stoner--reunited for another whacked out adventure. When Kumar receives a holiday package intended for Harold, he obligingly delivers it to his old friend's residence , and this is where the fun begins. The pair is charged with nothing less than to save Christmas, after they open the package to discover a gigantic joint which, after being lit, ends up burning down the twelve foot fir that Harold's father-in-law (the menacing Danny Trejo) has lovingly raised from a sapling to become this year's holiday centerpiece.

Their Christmas eve quest to find a replacement tree before the family returns home from midnight Mass will lead to encounters with belligerent, foul-mouthed teenagers (are there any other kind?) who get even for losing a game of beer pong by spiking the eggnog and sending our heroes into a scary hallucinogenic trip--depicted in claymation, no less; a harrowing run-in with a Russian mobster who has ordered them killed in retaliation for a suspected attempt to deflower his hot-to-trot teenage daughter; and accidentally shooting Santa Claus out of the sky.

How Harold and Kumar end up in the chorus line of a Christmas stage production with Neil Patrick Harris playing himself as an outwardly gay, but secretly heterosexual perv, is one of the most inventive sequences in the film. And there are generous holiday helpings of T & A, with a side trip to heaven and some lovely topless angels and nuns. If your sense of humor is irreverent enough to survive all this, we have an adorable toddler who inadvertently gets high on pot fumes and cocaine dust.

  • I'd classify A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas as a guilty pleasure--the kind of movie where characters give into their basest instincts in speech and behavior, like many would do if we didn't feel bound by social convention and political correctness. For that reason, this merry brand of madcap madness can serve as an exhilarating the secret fantasies of Miss Manners--letting her hair down as she falls off the bar stool, muttering vague sexual innuendo. We're all a conflicting jumble of instinct and inhibition, otherwise movies like A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas this wouldn't get made.

  • The first time I ever saw 3D--way back in the day--it seemed magical. Objects appeared to fly right off the screen and into your lap. I'd avoided the recent revival of this technology until now, because most of the films that employed it just weren't my cup of tea. For some reason, I'm not that impressed with it now. Was it the glasses? Did I have them on backwards? I'd go back and forth from looking with the naked eye, to employing the glasses, and, of course, there was some difference in depth perception, but maybe not enough for me to justify the extra three dollar surcharge. But don't let that stop you, especially if you're ready to get into the holiday mood. After all, you'll spend a lot more than that on a present for the jerky brother-in law you only see during holiday gatherings--the one whose name you can't quite recall.
Grade: B +