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A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

November 6, 2011

Harold: Dude, we’re claymated.

It’s Christmas in November! I always appreciate a good stoner buddy comedy, which is why I was quite excited for the third entry in the Harold & Kumar series. I did have quite a bit of fun with A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, but the film lacked the charm of White Castle, but was a vast improvement over Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The latest entry exceeds the previous one on two levels: sharper writing, and a shorter running time. The whole film consists of hit or miss jokes, but is consistent of many misses. Fortunately, once the jokes hit, they hit your funny bone with an iron fist. I have no determination to see this flick again, but it is passable for a one time viewing, especially in jaw-dropping 3D.

After six years of no contact, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) reunite for one crazy christmas. Harold’s father-in-law (Danny Trejo), who brought a sacred home-grown christmas tree puts his trust in Harold to decorate it, but things quickly go wrong once Kumar comes along. Soon after, Harold and Kumar go on the third biggest adventure of their lives, where the encounter Neil Patrick Harris, a pot-driven four year-old, the real-life Santa Claus (Richard Riehle), and a couple of internationally dangerous gangsters. 

Christmas came early this year, I suppose. It’s quite simple to top Guantanamo Bay, but they could have done a bit more expansion, making it a bit more even. This brings me to an issue I had with this film: the editing. What could have brought my grade up half a star, was brought down by the awful editing in this film. Thankfully, they packed “enough” funny to keep that flaw out of the equation for at least half the film. Still, I felt that the film would have been much more balanced if the film went from scene to scene with an unparalleled amount of confidence.

There are several moments in this that crosses the line of absurdity, easily being the unnecessary spoof of A Christmas Story, as well as the first five seconds of the claymation sequence. Granted, I did enjoy the use of claymation in the film, as well as I enjoyed it in the last Christmas episode of the NBC comedy Community. So I believe that this is a fine source of comedy in anything, considering that it’s mostly Tim Burton who uses the filming style of claymation nowadays. Anyways, as short as it was, there is a good amount of fun to be seen watching Harold and Kumar running in a claymated world from a giant, evil snowman. 

As I mentioned, the comedy in this is hit or miss, and aside from the claymation scene and a couple of other scenes involving Santa Claus, a coked-out baby, and Neil Patrick Harris, there aren’t many memorable laughs in this. I just want to point out that Patton Oswalt was robbed of his screen time, and should be featured in many, many more films (he’s a favorite of mine). Also, I usually enjoy Danny Trejo, but he didn’t seem to fit into this film. Trejo was good in Machete, The Devil’s Rejects, hell, I even enjoyed him in the Spy Kid trilogy (I refuse to see the abomination that is Spy Kids: All The Time In The World).

Finally, John Cho and Kal Penn are at the top of their games, yet again. Seeing Penn’s awful performance in the past few episodes of How I Met Your Mother put me down for him in this film, but he was able to impress me once more with his great variation of the pot smoking character of Kumar. John Cho hasn’t been on the radar very much lately, considering his last big film was a minor role in the Star Trek reboot, so it was good seeing him back on the big screen, even though his character undergoes some serious images that I STILL cannot seem to get out of my head (you have been warned!). These buddies together have fantastic chemistry, and are extremely believable as best buddies. They are easily the best aspect of the film.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen an actual film shot in 3D, rather than being released with a horrible conversion (Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, this list could go on and on). It’s made abundantly clear throughout the film that 3D is a ridiculous invention created solely for the scheme of making money. Seeing that this film isn’t doing so hot at the box office, I am vastly certain that 3D does not serve as a moneymaking scheme all of the time (see Shark Night 3D, Fright Night 3D). There are some good uses of 3D though, such as Avatar, Green Lantern, etc). All-in-all, the 3D wasn’t definitely necessary, but was worth seeing in it. 

The Harold & Kumar series has always been hit or miss, and while the first one was consistent solely of non-stop hits, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a mixed bag, with a couple of humorous moments, along with a bunch of unnecessary moments. A vast improvement over the second, but not a very good one.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas = 2.5 out of 5

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2011 6:37 pm

    HEYYY MATTTTT this review sucks!!!!! jk

  2. November 14, 2011 1:24 pm

    Nice review. I enjoyd it mostly for the nostalgia of seeing the team back together, but agree that most of the jokes and the editing didn’t live up to the original.

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