A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Movie Review
Independent Films, Movie Reviews, Interviews, Film Profiles
Much like the beloved heroes of the franchise, the “Harold & Kumar” series is growing up. The third installment still features toilet humor and gasp, male and female nudity, but the jokes are a bit smarter and the direction is a tad sharper.
The film even touches on problems with Wall Street when Harold (John Cho), who has now climbed up the ladder of success at the investment firm of Brewster Keegan, must run for safety as the protesters pelt him with eggs.
A lot has happened since the release of the last film “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.” Cho became a part of the praiseworthy “Star Trek” and his partner-in-crime, Kal Penn, who plays Kumar, took a two-year sabbatical to work at the White House.
The plot takes place six years after the events of “Guantanamo Bay.” Harold and Kumar have gone their separate ways. Harold is now married to Maria (Paula Garces) and is successful in his career. He even stopped using marijuana. Yes folks, Harold is all grown up.
Kumar, on the other hand, is still a man-child. He doesn’t have a respectable job, and he buys his pot from a Mall Santa (Patton Oswalt). But when a mysterious package addressed to Harold arrives at Kumar’s doorstep, our weed-smoking hero must reconnect with his old friend.
If the first two movies in the franchise are about race and politics, this third film pokes fun at religion. From Judaism to Catholicism, no one is sacred from the movie. There are jokes aplenty about priests and nuns. Heck, even Santa Clause is not safe.
Many iconic Christmas themes are weaved into the narrative of the movie. I especially enjoyed the claymation scene that seems to be directed by a maniacal version of Michael Bay. And fans of the franchise will be happy to see a sight of White Castle again.
Much like its predecessors, this one’s a misadventure tale. The first film is about embarking on a quest for White Castle burgers, the sequel is about escaping from Guantanamo Bay, and this time around, it’s about finding the perfect Christmas tree. Aw!
The third installment takes Christmas to new highs, and some predictable lows. There are some jokes that require the aid of marijuana to make them funnier. But the chemistry between Cho and Penn helps to elevate the movie. These two actors are so darn lovable together that you root for the characters to be friends again.
But in the beginning of the film, Harold and Kumar each has a new friend of his own. Harold’s new BFF is Todd (the always funny Tom Lennon of “Reno 911”), while Kumar has Adrian, played by Amir Blumenfeld (MTV’s “Pranked”).
My favorite bit involves Todd and his baby daughter. Let’s just say you will never look at pot, cocaine, or Ecstasy the same way ever again. There’s also a cute scene involving a robot that dispenses waffles aptly named Wafflebot.
But my favorite among the supporting cast is franchise veteran Neil Patrick Harris who plays himself using the acronym NPH. In any “Harold & Kumar” film, the screen comes alive in the second act when Harris shows up.
The actor credits the “Harold & Kumar” series for revitalizing his career after his successful turn as a child actor in “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Harris is game to poke fun at his image even to the point of making his character a straight man pretending to be gay in order to help his career and get girls.
Todd Strauss-Schulson, working from a script by longtime “Harold & Kumar” scriptwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, stylishly directed the movie. This third film gives a new meaning to nightmare before Christmas. It’s naughty with a dash of nice, and gosh darn it, I laughed out loud.
RATING: “A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS” GETS 2 ½ KISSES
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
After years of growing apart, Harold Lee and Kumar Patel have replaced each other with new friends and are preparing for their respective Yuletide celebrations. But when a mysterious package mistakenly arrives at Kumar's door on Christmas Eve, his attempt to redirect it to Harold's house ends with the "high grade" contents -- and Harold's father-in-law's prize Christmas tree -- going up in smoke.
Genres: Comedy, Holiday and Sequel
Release Date: November 4th, 2011 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
Cast and Credits
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garces, Eddie Kaye Thomas, David Krumholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Tom Lennon
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Produced by: Greg Shapiro, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States