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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
After the disaster of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the stoner comedy series returns to a fine form in their 3D holiday adventure, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. Honestly every problem that faced the second installment was corrected in this go-around and, I think, set a new bar for the franchise.
John Cho and Kal Penn return in their signature roles. A few years have passed since Guantanamo Bay, and it appears Harold and Kumar have drifted away from each other. Harold has gone into live the “yuppie” life while Kumar has stayed relatively stagnant (which also destroyed his relationship with Vanessa [Danneel Harras]). The Christmas season has arrived and a twist of fate causes Harold and Kumar to reunite to search for a new Christmas tree for Harold’s overbearing father-in-law (after Kumar accidently destroyed the original).
What makes this movie work is that it returns to the roots of the first movie. What seems like a somewhat simple endeavor turns into a bizarre quest filled with gangsters, Broadway shows, shooting down Santa, and Claymation. It is utterly insane. However, it never goes too over-the-top with the insanity, and when it does veer in that direction, it is very natural.
Also, like the first movie, all the action takes place over a one night. It gives the film more of an immediate feel to it and when they come up with not-well-thought-out ideas, it makes more sense considering how quickly they have to move. And, finally, what makes this film an improvement over part two, is that they greatly reduce Neil Patrick Harris’s role. Oh, he is still there, but it is just one burst, and is largely just an extended cameo.
Beyond that, this movie just works as a Christmas movie. I love how the filmmakers took a risk and started the film with Harold and Kumar separated. It makes the movie completely about them and their friendship. The other films dealt with this as well, but many of the arguments they had over what they were doing never really held much weight as the arguments were more surface-level and you never felt like they were going to “break up”. Here, the film amps up its heart and really makes you care about these guys.
Though I am largely indifferent on 3D, this is a movie that must be seen in 3D. I say this only because the film completely mocks 3D, and intentionally misuses it horribly. The fact that it was even filmed using 3D cameras (thus making it true 3D) makes the gag that much better.
Go see A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. You will not be disappointed. Though I am game for another installment of this series, this third chapter really brings a sense of finality to these characters. I would be okay if this was the last outing for our stoner duo.