A franchise regains its footing with A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. While not as consistently funny as the first H&K movie, it's a significant improvement over the second. It's goofy; it's nasty; and it's a great exercise in 3-D fun.
This one picks up several years after the conclusion of the dour and outlandish Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Harold (John Cho) is a successful stockbroker now married to a somewhat-crazy woman named Maria (Paula Garcés), and he's preparing for Christmas with his scary father-in-law (Danny Trejo, aka MACHETE!).
Kumar (Kal Penn) is now estranged from Harold. He got himself kicked out of medical school for drugs; he lost his girl; he hasn't cleaned his apartment in months; and he has taken to harassing a department-store Santa (Patton Oswalt) who moonlights as a drug-dealer. Let it be said that when Kumar blows pot-smoke rings with Santa's stash, they look incredible in 3-D.
A mysterious package brings Harold and Kumar together again, and they embark on an adventure that includes a frantic search for a Christmas tree; an evil mobster (Elias Koteas); a glorious dancing appearance in a holiday extravaganza with the resurrected Neil Patrick Harris (he died in the first sequel); and, most hilariously, a baby getting all sorts of accidental drug experiences.
Yeah, you could take offense with a film featuring a baby who gets cackling high on secondhand pot smoke, doused with cocaine, and accidentally fed Ecstasy—but if so, you are probably in the demographic that shouldn't be buying tickets to this movie. As for me, everything that happens with this kid had me howling.
Harold and Kumar also accidentally ingest some narcotics, leading to a Claymation hallucination that is the perfect ode to the likes of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
The 3-D effects are among the best I've ever seen. The aforementioned smoke rings look like you could stand up and put your head through them. When Harold's assistant is the victim of an Occupy Wall Street egging assault, you will be trying to wipe the yolk off your face. And when Danny Trejo gets overexcited about a Christmas tree, you could swear that the ... actually, I probably shouldn't write about that one. It's pretty gross.
Neil Patrick Harris has some sick fun with his image. (He fakes being gay to get pussy.) The film capitalizes on the man's fine song-and-dance talents with a big number, and then capitalizes on his proven capacity for playing a disgusting letch. His backstory since the second film, which includes a short trip to heaven, is classic.
The ever-reliable Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) is funny as the stoner-baby's daddy; he thinks pee on his windshield is the grossest thing ever ... until he gets a bigger surprise. Trejo is good as Maria's father, and it's a nice touch for Garcés' character to get a little bit nutty.
Cho and Penn have terrific comic chemistry, and they rarely miss a chance for a good laugh in this film. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson comes out of nowhere by delivering the funniest stoner comedy since Pineapple Express.
After the first H&K didn't perform well at the box office, impressive video sales resulted in the first sequel, which did OK. Incredibly, this movie is actually suffering a little at the box office. Folks, trust me: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas is super-funny filmmaking, and starts the holiday season with a perverted bang.
Please go see it. I want Harold and Kumar 4.