Five-Q Review of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

by | Nov 6th, 2011 | 2:35PM | Filed under: Movies, Theatrical Reviews

Theatrical Review of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: You don’t have to be a stoner to have a high time with the low-brow raunch of the third Harold and Kumar movie. It helps, however, to have a strong stomach and a tolerance for both very R-rated behavior and hit-and-miss humor.

1) Do We Need Another Harold & Kumar Movie?

When it’s this much over-the-top, offensive fun, sure, why not? Plus there’ve been changes since 2004′s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and 2008′s Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Harold (John Cho) is married, living in the ‘burbs, and hasn’t seen Kumar in years. And Kumar (Kal Penn) is still a slacker pothead, but might be a daddy. In addition to all this “growing up,” the movie, directed by first-timer Todd Strauss-Schulson, has a naughty time filthily mocking Christmas movies, music, and TV specials.

2) Okay, What’s the Story This Time?

Kumar destroys the prized Christmas tree of Harold’s father-in-law (Danny Trejo in full “scary Latino” mode) so he and Harold have to secretly find a replacement.

This quest naturally involves sex, drugs, a vicious Ukrainian mob boss (Elias Koteas), a toddler accidentally getting super high, a devoted WaffleBot, more drugs, A Christmas Story, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon, Santa getting shot, and male genitalia both Claymation-ized and “real.” And of course NPH.

3) NPH is Back!

Not really a question, but yes, “America’s Sweetheart” returns from the (movie) dead in full, hedonistic, hetero-sexist, debauched glory as he headlines a Rockette-style Christmas revue. (According to the flick, it turns out his real-life homosexuality is a ruse to lure babes.) Neil Patrick Harris is so self-mockingly, bleary eyed, asininely great in these movies, it’s a testimony to the filmmakers’ restraint that they don’t turn the whole movie over to him and wear out his welcome.

4) Will I Be Offended? Will I Laugh or Throw Up?

Okay, now that’s two questions. Like a naughty boy with a checklist, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas sets out to anger Christians, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, blacks, whites, child-safety advocates, and pancake lovers. The same goes for hauling out all bodily fluids. But with such egalitarian mockery, the movie’s attempts at upsetting various groups wind up lovably childish.

5) And What’s with the 3D?

Like the Christmas theme, the 3D is just here to be relentlessly mocked. Everything imaginable (and some things best not thought of again) flies out of the screen at you nonstop in an ironic parody of 3D gimmickry. Equally unsubtle and amusing is the movie’s breaking of the Fourth Wall with in-jokes about Cho’s Star Trek Sulu gig and Penn’s stint working in the Obama White House.

The Final Word

I laughed a lot. These Harold & Kumar movies may be full of silly, disgusting excess but they have an odd guilelessness at heart, sort of like very twisted John Hughes films. What keeps all the hit-and-miss, gross-out ridiculousness working is the easy likability of Cho and Penn–their chemistry neatly carries A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas over the dud jokes. That makes the movie, for those so inclined (like myself), a stupid-funny holiday treat.

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