Hark! The Harold & Kumar sing
A franchise finds its footing again with A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. While not as consistently funny as the first H&K movie, it’s 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 himself kicked out of med school for drugs, has 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’s 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’ll try to wipe the yoke off of your face. And when Danny Trejo gets excited about a Christmas tree, you could swear that the … actually, probably shouldn’t write about that one. Pretty gross.
Neil Patrick Harris has some sick fun with his image. (He fakes being gay to get pussy.) The film capitalizes on the man’s fine song and dance talents with a big number, and then capitalizes on his proven capacity for playing a disgusting letch. His back story since the second film, which includes a short trip to Heaven, is a classic.
The ever-reliable Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) is funny as the stoner baby’s daddy who thinks pee on his windshield is the grossest thing ever … until he gets a bigger surprise. Trejo is good casting as Maria’s father, and the Garcés character getting a little bit nutty after her relatively straightforward incarnation in the first two films is a good touch.
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.
After the first H&K didn’t perform well at the box office, video sales resulted in the first sequel, which did OK. Incredibly, this movie is actually suffering at the box office. Hey folks, trust me, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is super-funny filmmaking, and starts the holiday season with a perverted bang.
Please go see it—I want Harold & Kumar 4.