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Overall Rating
2.94

Awesome: 6.25%
Worth A Look: 37.5%
Just Average: 6.25%
Pretty Crappy43.75%
Sucks: 6.25%

2 reviews, 4 user ratings


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Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, A
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by Peter Sobczynski

"There Is A Schlong! There Is A Schlong!"
4 stars

As I have probably mentioned one or two times in the past, I have never been the kind of person who is normally disposed to liking films with most Christmas-themed entertainments. Oh sure, this is not exactly a hard and fast rule--the Frank Capra classic "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my all-time favorites and I adore such off-beat items as "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and the borderline insane "Christmas Evil"--but for the most part, such things tend to annoy me to no end; I sat stone-faced during "Christmas Vacation," I found "The Polar Express" to be nothing but nightmare fuel and, horror of horrors, even "A Christmas Story" fails to do much for me beyond the admittedly brilliant sequence in which Ralphie visits Santa at the department store. Similarly, I have made no real secret of my ever-increasing antipathy towards 3D movies, especially the ones that make no real use of the format and which deploy it only as an easy method of goosing box-office receipts. Also, I must confess that I was not much of a fan of either "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" or "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," the adventures of the best-known big-screen buds (pun intended) since Cheech & Chong. Therefore, the notion of sitting through something entitled "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" did not exactly fill me with much of anything remotely resembling enthusiasm. And yet, I found myself laughing more or less throughout its 90-very-odd minutes of ultra-raunchy silliness and yes, I am as surprised to have written those words as you may be reading them.

It has been six years since the previous adventures of the duo and as the story begins, we soon discover that the seemingly inseparable pals have now taken very different paths The straight-laced Harold (John Cho) seems to have it all--a good job, a big house and a beautiful wife in longtime crush Maria (Paula Garces)--and the only dark cloud on the horizon is trying to keep on the good side of his fearsome father-in-law (Danny Trejo), a man for whom the holiday spirit is more along the lines of a borderline dangerous obsession. As for Kumar (Kal Penn), he is still a dope-obsessed screwup and when his former girlfriend turns up to inform him that she is pregnant, he handles it about as well as he handles everything else in his life, which is to say not well at all. Harold and Kumar have been estranged for a while but when a package arrives at Kumar's apartment addressed to Harold on Christmas Eve, he ventures off to deliver it to his former friend. Inevitably, within a few minutes of his arrival, the Christmas tree that Harold's father-in-law lovingly grew himself is lying in ashes on the front lawn and the two, along with their new best friends (Thomas Lennon and Amir Blumenfeld) are forced to venture into New York City in the hopes of finding another tree and getting it back home before his wife's extended family returns from Midnight Mass. Needless to say, complications immediately ensue and they find themselves contending with Russian gangsters, bratty teenagers, drug-addled babies, claymation monsters, old friends lavish production numbers, Neil Patrick Harris and Santa Claus with the only respite coming from a brief visit to a certain fast-food franchise of some notoriety. "But wait," some students of all things "Harold & Kumar" may be wondering, "didn't Neil Patrick Harris go down in a hail of gunfire in the previous installment?" Well, to that, all I can say is that the film does address that apparent discrepancy and note that if you are going to pick on that relatively minor lapse or narrative logic, this may not quite be the movie for you after all.

Reviewing a film like "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" is largely an exercise in futility because it is nothing more than a collection of wildly outrageous gags strung together in the most tenuous manner possible and any attempt to analyze the proceedings for deeper meaning would be laughable. For example, I suppose that I could note that with its combination of ramshackle plotting and an arsenal of gags ranging from reasonably inspired dialogue to silly sight gags to sly in-jokes about the off-screen lives of the actors (the funniest being a reference to Kal Pen's real-life decision to spend two years working in the Obama administration) to moments of outright surrealism, the film is merely continuing in the grand tradition of the beloved "Road" movies that Bob Hope and Bing Crosby used to shamble through back in the day. Of course, Hope & Crosby managed to get through their movies without on graphic nudity, drug-addled babies or one of the most beloved icons of the season taking a shotgun blast to the face but as a wise man once said, times have changed. Besides, unlike a lot of recent comedies that have relied on raunchy humor, such as the miserable "The Change-Up," most of the more outré material on display here(such as the inevitable homage to "A Christmas Story" in which a body part somewhat further south than the tongue winds up getting frozen to a pole) is actually kind of inspired--during these scenes, I found myself laughing not only because the bits were funny but because of the sheer audacity of what I was seeing. Not everything about the film revolves around the blue material, however. Cho and Penn still make for a winning comedy team, Neil Patrick Harris's willingness to subvert his public persona is refreshing as always and his appearance supplies some of the biggest laughs. In fact, he has only one competitor in terms of scene-stealing here in the form of a bizarre mechanical contraption; I will save the details for you to discover but I will note that if anyone decides to actually produce such a thing in the future, I will be the first in line to buy one.

As I noted before, I was not much of a fan of the previous "Harold & Kumar" films and yet, while "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" is not much different from its predecessors, I enjoyed it infinitely more than the earlier installments. Had I finally become one with the holiday spirit, at least in a cinematic sense, even though I was watching the film in the middle of October? Had the ramshackle lunacy of the two best buds finally clicked with me in a way that it hadn't during their previous adventures searching for White Castle or fleeing Guantanamo Bay? Had I been in the midst of such a long stretch of extremely serious movies (the day I saw it also included that nonsense about Shakespeare's plays being written by someone else and a second viewing of a 3D documentary on modern dance) that I was simply in the mood for something on the silly side and it more than fit the bill? Whatever the reason--and I strongly suspect that it is the latter--the end result is, if not a full-fledged holiday miracle, exactly the kind of spiked cinematic egg nog that will come as a relief to many once they have gotten their fill of sugar plums and silver bells

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18896&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/03/11 22:53:48
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User Comments

4/06/12 The Taitor A few decent laughs but the rest falls flat, clearly made for the cash unlike the prev. 2 2 stars
11/25/11 Bob Dog Rocks! 5 stars
11/18/11 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Would have been much better without the heterophobic massage recipient! 3 stars
11/06/11 Pontoon ylprjigwb obviously had a stroke while entering his vote. He clearly meant 1 star. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Nov-2011 (R)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2012

UK
  N/A

Australia
  04-Nov-2011
  DVD: 06-Mar-2012




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