Film Review: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

very_harold_and_kumar_christmasA Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a bounce back after their Escape from Guantanamo Bay and is about as good as their trip to White Castle.

If that sentence makes any sense to you then you are probably ready to go see this one this weekend, but I think the film is still accessible to virgins of the series.  This tale of lovable stoners is actually a pretty fun Christmas tale and gives us an R-rated entry that we rarely get in our holiday film offerings.

If you are unfamiliar with the franchise, it follows a pair of college buddies who smoke a lot of marijuana.  They had themselves a crazy week a few years back, but since, the two have grown apart.  Harold, the more responsible of the two, has moved on with his life settling down, marrying his dream girl, and getting a big time job on Wall St.  Left in his dust is Kumar who is experiencing a spiral three months removed from his girlfriend dumping him.  Living in filth and constantly getting high, Kumar has seen better days, but when fate brings the pair back together they are set along another unexpected adventure that will take them all over NYC on Christmas Eve.

The plot is simple.  The pair is trying to find a Christmas tree for Harold’s house after a magical joint burnt down his father-in-law’s.  From there the duo will encounter punk kids, gangsters, stage shows and NPH.  The film’s pacing is surprisingly steady but delivers plenty of laughs from start to finish.  The way they embrace the Christmas spirit is also a pleasant surprise with the film hitting a couple of poignant moments between the gags surrounding the two leads.  The film implements so many staples of Christmas entertainment that if it wasn’t for the dirty humor it might have been widely embraced as a holiday classic.  There is an audience that will play this film every holiday season but its crudeness will keep the mainstream away.  We have a dance number, holiday songs, claymation and more that fit right into a holiday picture; and this film adds 3D to the mix.

The 3D is a mixed bag to be honest and outside of the 3D smoke there just aren’t that many great 3D moments.  The clarity is fine but they don’t do enough with the technology; especially after hyping it up that the creative team was going to blow us away with their implementation of the technology.  So don’t feel pressed to see this in 3D if you don’t want to, it doesn’t work nearly as well as it did for Puss in Boots last weekend.

The cast they assembled has a lot of friendly faces but most everyone is short changed or regulated to cameos.  Arguably the best part about these films existing is Neil Patrick Harris’ presence in them and he doesn’t disappoint here.  Singing, dancing and, apparently, not really gay, Harris is allowed to be the sex craved psycho we have grown to love.  His trip to heaven is entirely too brief though.  Jake Johnson cameos ad Jesus and I wish we had more of him as he is proving to be one of the best comic actors around with his work of late and in The New Girl.  John Cho and Kal Penn fall right back in step with Harold and Kumar, respectively, and each deliver plenty of funny moments throughout the picture.  The poignancy the two get to display is quite affective as well and the two prove again they are one of the finer/likable comedy teams of late in film.

In the end, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is not only a solid comedy but a solid Christmas film as well.  Carrying a great message about friendship and plenty of raunch and absurdity that you have come to expect from the series, Harold and Kumar’s Christmas adventure will be welcomed by any fan of the series/genre.  The film is also delightfully weird, WaffleBot!, and features plenty of randomness to keep viewers on their toes as well.  It is nice to have these guys back and I look forward to maybe getting to see them together on the screen again.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a B

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