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Friday
Nov042011

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

People get way too excited for Christmas way too fast. November barely begins before radio stations start pumping out Christmas music, stores start stocking for the impending rush and nearly every television commercial transitions to holiday themes. If you ask me, looking forward to Christmas over a month and a half ahead of time is a bit silly, but people like it and there’s a demand for it, at least in most cases. I can’t imagine the Christian based and family oriented communities were clamoring for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, a movie that takes the sacred holiday (and the iconography associated with it) and uses it in the most offensive way possible. Don’t grab granny for this one kids.

Years have gone by since Harold (John Cho) and Kumar’s (Kal Penn) last adventure and the two have drifted apart. Kumar is still the same slacker-stoner he’s always been while Harold has moved on, married and nabbed a high paying job on Wall Street. He wants nothing more than to live a normal life, but when Kumar shows up at Harold’s house on Christmas Eve, they find themselves victims of yet another crazy adventure.

That’s about all you really need to know about the “plot” because the “plot” is inconsequential. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is about gags and the film goes about getting them any way it can, even if that means disregarding entire portions of the story. We find out early on that Kumar’s ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his child, for instance, but it only serves as a late film character redemption, an unnecessary narrative arc in a movie where the characters turn into clay and whip out their penises for no other reason than to allow the audience to see one in 3D. There’s also a side story involving two characters who are trapped in a closet at a mob boss’s house, but it depressingly goes nowhere and serves as filler in between the comic absurdities of the main story, which, come to think of it, fares about the same.

The situations the two find themselves in are so ridiculous and strung together by such a loose narrative thread that one could write a thesis paper with a hypothesis arguing that the entire movie was really a drug trip journeying through Kumar’s narcotics-laced brain, especially since he spends the entire opening moments getting high. There is nothing holding this thing together from scene to scene, but there are moments of genuine hilarity, which, at least for the purpose of this franchise, trumps poor storytelling. Sure, the drug jokes are old and you can only watch the characters blow CGI smoke towards your face so many times before it starts to wear thin, but if nothing else, you’ll laugh at its political incorrectness and willingness to dope a young child up with marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. A sequel set 10 years in the future where that young child has become a crack whore selling her body on the street for drugs might not be too amusing, but it sure is now.

The star of the show once again, however, is Neil Patrick Harris. His cameo was an added treat in the original movie and single-handedly saved the second from the brink of disaster. Well, he’s back here and he’s better than ever. The movie slyly works his homosexuality into the story, dealing with it in its own crude way and Neil Patrick Harris simply plays along. He may only be in the film for about ten minutes, but it’s ten of the funniest minutes you’ll see all year.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas shows signs of farcical intelligence early on, mocking the use of 3D while utilizing its unwelcome effect. In that sense, it takes a new approach to the format and makes it work, but that approach is not constant. Aside from a few clever moments, the 3D is simply there (but just barely), once again rearing its ugly, unnecessary and worthless head. Still, there is some holiday joy to be found in it, perverted and juvenile though it may be. One thing’s for sure. After watching this, you’ll never be able to look at A Christmas Story the same way again.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas receives 2.5/5

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