Friday, November 4, 2011

Death, Drugs, And Dummies: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

This review originally appeared on the San Francisco Appeal.

I saw "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" while sick and slightly feverish, and I can only think this helped the viewing experience. Of course, the ideal viewing experience would involve seeing it totally stoned, and any theater manager who calls the cops or kicks someone out for firing up once the lights go down is obviously a Scrooge who hates Christmas. And possibly America.

It's been a few years since "Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay," and there has been a rift in the toasted duo's friendship. Harold (John Cho) is now a rich Wall Street executive trying to avoid the egg-tossing protesters outside his office so he can get home to his hot Latina wife (Paula Garc├ęs) and welcome her father home for Christmas. Her father is played by Danny Trejo, and that, to me, is this 3D movie's best joke: Is there any actor whose face you'd like to see less in 3D than Danny Trejo's?

Meanwhile, Kumar (Kal Penn) is a perpetually stoned med school drop-out loser who spends his days pining after an ex-girlfriend and smoking lots of weed purchased from the local mall Santa (played by Patton Oswalt). A mysterious box left at his front door leads him to a reunion with Harold, and their ultimate Christmas Eve quest to replace Harold's perfect pine Christmas tree, which had been lovingly grown for 12 years by his terrifying father-in-law, but was accidentally burned down by Kumar.

The film plays out as you would expect a "Harold and Kumar" movie to, with the duo facing death, drugs, and dummies in the course of a very long evening. I didn't exactly laugh my ass off, but I did have the stupid grin you'd associate with someone stoned out of their minds through most of the movie's 90 minute running time.

And I did genuinely laugh at most of the moments involving Harold's friend Todd (Thomas Lennon) and his three-year-old daughter, who ends up ingesting more drugs than Harold and Kumar in all three movies combined. If you find the thought of a child getting high on pot, coke, and ecstasy to be in bad taste, well, you aren't seriously thinking about seeing a "Harold and Kumar" movie, are you?

You should also probably avoid this movie if the sight of dicks, boobs, Santa with a gaping head wound, or racist jokes of all stripes offend you. Because you're gonna get all that, and it's all going to be flying right at your face via some impressive 3D effects. (I tend to hate 3D, but there is absolutely no reason to see this movie unless you see it in 3D. You can practically get a contact high from all that hovering CG smoke.)

Neil Patrick Harris, of course, returns, playing "himself," (if you thought he died in the last one, you obviously left before the credits were over), and this time the jokes centered around his sexuality fall a little flat. Thankfully, the ridiculous musical Christmas number he's a part of makes up for it.

And yes, November 4th is too early for a Christmas movie to come out. It's too early for stores to be stocking their Christmas loot, it's too early for lights to be put on those outdoor trees, and it's too early for anyone to have to be worrying about a holiday that is basically two months away. It's enough to drive someone to heavy drug use.

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