Notable Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Thomas Lennon, Amir Blumenfeld, Danny Trejo, Neil Patrick Harris
Review: One of the most famous stoner duos is back again for another trippy adventure this holiday season, and hopefully with no mention of Guantanamo Bay. After their last adventure, we could only hope the Christmas spirit would inject some much-needed life into our heroes, forgetting their past atrocities. White Castle was a deliciously decadent trip into the depths of hilarious high comedy, while walking their adventure to Guantanamo was just as horrifying as going there yourself. But for better or worse, the gang is back with guns, err, blunts blazing. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas teeters the line between the wasteful in your face comedy from Guantanamo Bay with the more down to earth stylings of White Castle. This balance was crucial, as the frat house comedy was a break of pace instead of overkill. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay? A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is the only sequel that matters in this psychedelic franchise.
So this time around our stoner duo is on a very specific mission. No, munchies are not the problem. To set the scene, Harold (Cho) has become a big wig Wall Street presence who lives in a luxurious house with wife Maria (Paula Garcés). Kumar (Penn) on the other hand lives alone getting high all day in a dingy apartment after his significant other Vanessa (Danneel Ackles) leaves him. The two have become distant due to their vastly different lifestyles, but fate brings them back together during this special Christmas. When a strange package arrives at Kumar’s apartment but addressed to Harold, Kumar decides to drop the package off. Curious, the two open the package to find the most beautifully rolled doobie preserved perfectly in a fancy box. Kumar of course lights it up, but Harold smacks the blunt out of his hand as per the no smoking house rules. It flies out the window, but a magical boomerang like motion sweeps the lit joint back in the house and directly onto the Christmas tree Maria’s father (Trejo) grew himself. The tree becomes engulfed in fire and is completely destroyed. Already looked down upon by Maria’s father, Harold now has until after midnight mass to replace the tree that meant so much to Maria’s father in an attempt to win him over. But on Christmas Eve can our bumbling friends find a perfect tree to replace the already perfect tree Maria’s father had brought? Or the real question is, could they stay sober long enough to even make this possible?
Claymation, Harold and Kumar style…
A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas attacks every sort of genre around, playing out how a good spoof film should. There is a ton of hilarious commentary on other genres from the overblown slow motion shoot out scene to the traditional Christmas claymation used in so many of our favorite holiday films. Of course the writers throw a Harold and Kumar twist on everything, from claymated genitalia to drugged up babies, making it impossible to watch a film like Rudolph without giving an inappropriate chuckle thinking back to how Harold and Kumar could raunch up the situation. All of the fun you’d expect Harold and Kumar to bring to these other genres is perfectly implemented, giving a good lampooning to what we know and love. Chalk up yet another example that it is possible to make a successful parody film without the need of useless pop culture references and kindergarten writing skills ( _____ Movie franchise, looking at you).
I can thankfully say where Guantanamo Bay paled in comparison to the original Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg corrected their mistakes by discovering a happy medium between keeping the story outlandish yet cohesive, the jokes crude yet on point, and the characters human yet ever evolving. Guantanamo Bay focused entirely too much on trying to push the vulgarity far past any breaking point, but in return created a film that felt like just a bunch of randomly placed offensive humor surrounded by a weak story with no point but to connect the dots. 3D Christmas gets back to the simplistic roots of the first film, making the only objective of Roldy and Kumar to find a Christmas tree. The fun of this and the first film is watching just how far off course the characters get on such a simple task, and 3D Christmas deviates hilariously far off the path. Not to mention the writers also created the greatest recurring celebrity cameo in the history of stoner comedies in Neil Patrick Harris’ portrayal of his uber macho sex deviant alter ego for the Harold and Kumar films. Supposedly killed off in the last movie, we learn how basically NPH had too much swagger for even heaven to hold and was sent back to earth. Again, he shines in the role that lets him be the exact opposite of his actual self, demeaning woman and tweaking out for our entertainment. At this point, NPH is just as much of a staple to Harold and Kumar as the two title characters are. In fact, I honestly don’t think a Harold and Kumar film would be the same without NPH delivering laugh after laugh. NPH was the only reason I made it through Guantanamo Bay, proving as long as he’s involved with the cast my butt will be planted in that audience seat. Also, great move casting CollegeHumor regular Amir Blumenfeld, as he’s too funny to be stuck solely on the internet. Him and Thomas Lennon were a suitable support team, providing a change of pace from the typical Cho and Penn tomfoolery.
I can’t give a proper rating of the 3D technology used as I skipped out on the inflated ticket, but the film as a whole stands up a lot stronger than predicted. No stoner comedy is flawless, as some of the humor dances a fine line between crazy enough to work and too crazy to ever work. Here there are moments when the comedy falls flat (obvious race jokes and insane humor even the highest viewer couldn’t comprehend), but what can you really expect from a film franchise that originated with two guys who wanted White Castle? Look no further for a solid R-Rated raunchy Christmas comedy involving tolkin’ Santas, a waffle cooking robot, Danny Trejo, and a stack of that good plant…just leave the kids far far away.
Final Rating: 7 blunts a blazing out of 10
Shooting Santa in the face, number 1 was to the naughty list….