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A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Theatrical Review

Mandate Pictures; 90 minutes

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Written by on November 3, 2011 

Harold and Kumar are back with a crass comedy just in time for Christmas. And you know what? It’s absolutely hilarious. Featuring in-your-face 3D, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a blisteringly irreverent comedy that prods prejudice stereotypes and takes shots at sacred cows (sometimes literally) while constructing a wild holiday adventure that is surprisingly sweet. Todd Strauss-Schulson makes his feature debut, which admittedly is a bit choppy in construction, but is kept rolling along with plenty of absurd and obscene sequences thanks to screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who penned the pair’s previous journeys Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Hurwitz and Schlossberg bring in the best elements of the first films (fearlessly politically incorrect jokes, off-the-wall characters, themes of loyalty and friendship, and Neil Patrick Harris) but up the ante with tons of holiday-themed madness, and 3D-friendly mayhem.

Of course, years have passed since we last saw Harold & Kumar (John Cho & Kal Penn), and in the interim the two have grown apart. Harold works on Wall Street and lives in a beautiful New Jersey home with his sultry wife Maria (Paula Garcés), while Kumar resides in New York City in a garbage-strewn apartment alone, since his girlfriend left him once he got booted from med school for failing a drug test. Each has since found new, lamer and whiter friends: Harold reluctantly hangs with easily-agitated Todd (Thomas Lennon) who is attached to his toddler daughter Ava at the hip, while Kumar spends his ample free time with his sleazy neighbor Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld) whose Christmas wish is to deflower a virgin (named Mary) he met on the Internet. The lives of these four loosely-linked friends collide when a mysterious package for Harold arrives on Kumar’s doorstep. He decides to deliver it, and shortly after his arrival, manages to accidentally destroy the Christmas tree that was crucial to Harold earning the respect of his gruff and disapproving father-in-law (Danny Trejo). And so, to save Christmas, they set out to Manhattan to find a new tree. Amid the glorious shots of New York at Christmas (which alone may be worth the cost of 3D for those who’ve never seen it in person), Harold and Kumar reunite with NPH, meet a disgruntled waffle-making robot, cross a notorious gangster and accidentally hot box a baby.

Thankfully, while Cho and Penn have gone on to greater things since H&K’s early adventures (some of which are mentioned in cheeky one-liners within A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas), both are totally game to reprise their roles, reveling in the bizarre bits that include a cringe-inducing re-imagination of a classic A Christmas Story scene. They even manage to keep pace with NPH as he jaunts through a full-on musical number, complete with high-kicking Radio City Rockettes. For his part, NPH returns to the role of self-mockery that paints him as a devious degenerate with an unquenchable thirst for drugs and women, mocking his own outed status while sexually harassing a naïve and nubile blonde. (Never before has workplace abuse been so hilarious! Seriously!) And everyone from Trejo as the sneering father-in-law, to Elias Koteas as a scarred and merciless mobster, to RZA and Da’Vone McDonald as a pair of urban Christmas tree peddlers, makes the best out of bit parts, bolstering an already funny flick with plenty of one-liners and seemingly off-the-cuff jokes.

But what’s best about A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is that while this holiday flick is unrepentantly irreverent it’s not cynical. It pulls inspiration from a bevy of beloved holiday favorites to create it’s own brand of holiday classic that embraces the magic of Christmas that can save long-lost friendships and make better people out of all of us, be we aimless stoners, henpecked husbands, or crack-craving child celebrities. It’s a weirdly heartwarming message amid a tale packed with snow of all sorts, and it makes A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas an absolute holiday treat — for those of old enough to enjoy it responsibly.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas opens nationwide November 4th.


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