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A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

November 6, 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 less than subpar 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 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.

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 the 3rd 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 balance 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 there outcomes being nearly exactly the same as the previous two films with just the details and plot devices being it’s only difference.

Character development is basically none existent in this film. Most characters don’t have anything beyond what their names could have been in the closing credits: Russian mobsters, 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. While 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 unlikeable 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 much 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’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 excrements, 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.

AVOID IT. Or just see it on DVD.

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