A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

A third round of spaced out hijinks from the maestros of marijuana, only this go around is holiday themed. Harold and Kumar are estranged after life has taken them in very different directions. Kumar is a med school drop out content with smoking his days away, while unburned with the knowledge he is to be a father in nine months time. Harold is a reformed stoner now married to a latin woman and desperately trying to conceive a baby. The intervening years haven’t been kind to the pot smoking duo each has a new best friend that serves to irritate and cause jealousy amongst the other. The silly plot involves the Christmas Eve search for a twelve foot tree to replace the one Kumar burnt down with a joint delivered from Santa. It’s that kind of movie.

The 3d, which must have seemed rational to a hazed over theatrical audience, is absolutely useless here and just adds a dimension of desperation that the film is never able to escape. Harold and Kumar engage in a variety of disjointed situations throughout the movie but the plot is almost non existent and most of the skits are silly, not funny. This outing is executed professionally but raunchiness has been supplanted for sweetness and sentimentality and I think the movie is weaker for it. There is an aspect to this film and the series as a whole I’ve always appreciated, the willingness to make jokes about all races. It’s an equal opportunity offender, even in the central casting of two ethnic leads over Caucasians is compelling. Many cameo appearances dot the landscape, most notably Neil Patrick Harris playing a version of himself that is consistent with his earlier outings.

Even though I can’t recommend A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas I’m hopeful the producers make a fourth entry. I’d like to check in with these characters every couple of years. The interesting open door ending leaves room for the possibility. I just hope that next time they can get these two in a storyline that is worth the effort and not a counter-culture cash grab.

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Stars: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris

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