A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, 2011.
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.
Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Danneel Harris, Paula Garcés and Danny Trejo.
Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is set several years after the shenanigans of its predecessors Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies, where the duo get into all sorts of trouble in the quest for the elusive White Castle burger, and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which finds the twosome on the run from authorities who suspect them of being terrorists. Harold (John Cho) is now enjoying married life with his new wife Maria (Paula Graces) and has turned his back on the weed smoking lifestyle and is instead focusing on his successful career as a Wall Street banker while Kumar (Kal Penn) hasn’t really changed and is the same weed smoking layabout from the first two adventures. With Christmas fast approaching Harold is faced with a dilemma; with the arrival of Maria’s family (all 20 of them) who are staying for the holiday period he is tasked by his dominating, scary father in law Mr Perez (Danny Trejo) with decorating the family Christmas tree, which Perez has been meticulously growing for 8 years. Meanwhile a mysterious package addressed to Harold gets delivered to Kumar who decides to personally deliver the package and in true Harold and Kumar style they manage to burn down the precious Christmas tree. So the adventure begins to try and find a similar beautiful 12ft tree on Christmas Eve in order to avoid disappointing his wife and father-in-law and ultimately ruining the family Christmas.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is filled with racially inappropriate jokes, slapstick comedy involving various people falling on their backside, outrageous politically incorrect humour such as babies smoking weed and sniffing cocaine and if you are familiar with Harold and Kumar’s previous escapades none of this will come as a surprise. The thing is all of the above just seems to work very well with these two characters. Penn and Cho have such a great natural on-screen chemistry so even though you can see the jokes coming well in advance and it’s not really anything you haven’t seen before, it seems to just work. Penn plays the weed-loving bum extremely well and his smart one-liners never fail to amuse. One of the most surprising things which has nothing to actually do with the film itself is the fact that the weed loving layabout Kumar played by Kal Penn in real life works for the President of the United States of America (which was referred to in the film as a joke). Penn works as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration and serves as a liaison with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. This fact weirdly makes me appreciate his performance that little bit more, with the knowledge that the guy playing a socially inept bum is in real life a trusted advisor of arguably the most powerful man in the world!
There are also some noteworthy performances such as Amir Blumenfeld (Pranked) who puts in a very funny performance as Kumar’s nerdy new best friend who is on a quest of his own to “close the deal” with a female he met online with ensuing hilarious consequences. Bobby Lee (Pineapple Express) stars as Harold’s assistant and Tom Lennon (I Love You Man) puts in a decent if not a bit too clichéd performance as Harold’s new best friend who comes along for the ride with his young daughter. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) returns with an extremely funny cameo performance where he pokes fun at his real life sexuality.
This film is everything you would expect from Harold and Kumar and the writing duo Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg deliver a film that serves it purpose. This film targets a particular demographic, and some movie goers may find this particular brand of humour crass and unoriginal. However I think this is certainly one of the funniest comedies that I’ve watched this year because it has a nostalgic feel about it and takes us back to a time when comedies were made simply to make people laugh and they didn’t worry too much about offending people and upsetting a particular social group. This is a good old fashioned, silly comedy and keeps you entertained. The 3D portion of the film was unnecessary and consisted of several objects such as rollups of weed, eggs etc. being thrust into the screen but this adds to the fun as the film openly mocks the whole 3D phenomenon.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is a very entertaining, funny, silly, absurd comedy which may not be highbrow intellectual humour but it is certainly guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★