A very funny Christmas

A franchise finds its footing again … in 3-D!

Santa had it coming.

Santa had it coming.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas
Starring Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris. Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.
Rated 4.0

While not as consistently funny as the first H&K movie, A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas is a significant improvement over the second. It’s goofy, it’s nasty and it’s a pretty great exercise in 3-D fun, too.

This one picks up a few years down the road from the dour, somewhat unfunny and outlandish Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Harold (John Cho) is a successful stockbroker now married to somewhat crazy Maria (Paula Garcés) and preparing for Christmas with his scary father-in-law (Danny Trejo, a.k.a. MACHETE!).

Kumar (Kal Penn), now estranged from Harold, got kicked out of med school for drugs, lost his girl, hasn’t cleaned his apartment in months, and has taken to harassing a department store Santa (Patton Oswalt) who moonlights as a drug dealer. And let it be said, when Kumar blows pot smoke rings with Santa’s stash, they look incredible in 3-D.

A mysterious package brings Harold and Kumar together again, and they embark on an adventure that includes a frantic search for a Christmas tree, an evil mobster (Elias Koteas), a glorious dancing appearance in a holiday extravaganza with the resurrected Neil Patrick Harris (he had died in the first sequel), and, most hilariously, a baby getting all sorts of accidental drug experiences.

Yeah, you could take offense with a film featuring a baby who gets cackling high on second-hand pot smoke, doused with cocaine and accidentally fed ecstasy. You are probably in the demographic that shouldn’t be buying tickets to this movie. As for me, everything that happens with this kid had me howling.

Harold and Kumar also ingest some narcotics accidentally, leading to a Claymation hallucination that is the perfect ode to the likes of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The 3-D effects are among the best I’ve ever seen, seriously. The aforementioned smoke rings look like you could stand up and put your head through them. When Harold’s assistant is the victim of an Occupy Wall Street egging assault, you will be trying to wipe the yoke off of your face. And when Trejo gets over excited about a Christmas tree, you could swear that the … actually, probably shouldn’t write about that one.

The film capitalizes on Harris’ fine song and dance talents with a big number, and capitalizes on his proven capacity for playing a disgusting letch as he has some sick fun with his image (he fakes being gay to get pussy). His back story since the second film, which includes a short trip to heaven, is a classic.

Cho and Penn have such terrific comic chemistry. They rarely miss a chance for a good laugh in this film. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson just sort of comes out of nowhere with this one, delivering the funniest stoner comedy since Pineapple Express.

Please go see it. I want Harold & Kumar 4.