A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
I’ve said in reviews before and I will say it again: I hate sequels almost as much as I hate remakes. My reasoning being that both genres usually result in the finished product being amateur and sub par to the original. Much of the story in remakes and sequels rely heavily on its predecessor with little new imagination or direction. Yet in spite of this hate for sequels, I was still as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning when I initially saw the trailer for A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. Seriously though, how could I not have been? A stoner Christmas comedy following the shenanigans of the beloved Harold and Kumar where they get a baby high… what’s not to love?
If you expect Harold and Kumar 3D to exceed the quality and delivery of the last two films like I did, then prepare to be sorely mistaken. Expectations are the worst. I expected or perhaps just wanted the third installment of the Harold and Kumar series to be a much funnier, raunchier film that used 3D for the sake of pointing out how clichéd and ridiculous it has become as a trend. Instead A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas was nothing more than a stale rehash of its original self as well as a few other films of its genre.
Yes, this is basically all that 3D is and you look ridiculous if you think you can touch his fingers.
NPH. I don’t know how Neil Patrick Harris does it but he somehow makes his cameos in each Harold and Kumar film the highlight every time. Harris’ career was arguably revived because of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and since then his appearance in each film has only topped itself with his part in this one possibly being his best. Harris hilariously returns as a wildly exaggerated, crude, altered version of himself. Yes, he did get shot in that whorehouse during Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay, but you can’t keep a good whore-branding crackhead down as the Gods themselves realized his presence was needed back in the world of Harold and Kumar. NPH is more successful, cunning, and crude as ever and hands down the saving grace to Harold and Kumar 3D.
There are admirable tender moments in A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas as the film’s major theme focuses on the boys learning how to be adults and balancing having partners and priorities along with childhood friends, ideas, and rituals. However, much of the film’s conflict revolves around the exact same motif: the sensible Harold trying to be an adult while his goofy aloof stoner buddy, Kumar, stands in his way. The film’s flimsy script results in conflicts and their outcomes being nearly exactly the same as the previous two films, with just the details and plot devices providing any difference.
“Hey Roldy, doesn’t this feel like Deja-vu… just less developed and shittier?”
Character development is basically nonexistent in this film. Most characters don’t have anything beyond what their names could have been in the closing credits: Russian mobster, angry Black man, and Jewish complainer. Where White Castle and Guantanamo Bay focused on how both boys in their early 20s were dealing with being adults in love and with careers, Harold and Kumar Christmas just doesn’t have any meat on its bones to focus on. Harold is now married to a one-dimensional vixen that doesn’t seem to share any common interests with Harold except a mutual attraction. Kumar is still the same stoner being told to clean up his life and agreeing to do so, but in the end never truly learning from his mistakes, because how can he when his mistakes are nothing more than plot devices? 99% of the characters featured throughout the film are annoying, highly unlikable people with little personality and superficial goals like deflowering a virgin met online.
The lack of originality in A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas is something that angered me more than I expected. The story was simple, trite, and lazy as many of the running jokes get old after their first run (we get it, babies on drugs is taboo, so therefore funny, but a baby raving on ecstasy… come on!) and elements of the film are too easily comparable to others before it. Not only did A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas take the same scenarios and elements from its first two film but also that of others. Jackass 3D, Piranha 3D, Half Baked, and Ernest Saves Christmas did everything A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas attempted to do except better, and yes that does include showing a penis in 3D.
There was only one man who knew how to make a stupidly funny Christmas film and that was Ernest. Thank you Ernest, thank you.
There’s too much talking and not enough action or comedy to compensate for it in A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. There’s funny, laugh out loud moments, but as a whole it’s a lackluster film that would probably only be enjoyable if you’ve never seen the first two. Then perhaps maybe the over-the-top pot jokes, focus on excrement, running gag of a drug addled baby, and cheap emotional moments would be satisfying. A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas was a disappointment, but maybe that’s my fault for expecting more out of a mere sequel. I should have known better.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every drug mentioned or seen.
Take a Drink: every time the suspension of disbelief is too much to take seriously.
Take a Drink: for every Christmas tree in Harold and Kumar’s possession.