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Overall Rating

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 Rob Gonsalves

"Time to hang it up, guys."
2 stars

Why do Harold and Kumar have to grow up? Cheech and Chong never did.

In A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Harold (John Cho) is now a Wall Street shark and Kumar (Kal Penn) sits on his couch getting stoned all day because he’s been disbarred, or disdoctored, or whatever you call it when doctors flunk a drug test. The two haven’t seen each other in years, but fate throws them back together for another anarchic ride. In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), their goal was to make it to the eponymous burger joint. In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008), their very freedom was at stake. Here, their task is to replace a Christmas tree burned down by a giant spliff; they also run afoul of Russian mobsters. All things considered, the boys’ stoned quest for a burger seemed more urgent, somehow.

The Christmas tree represents Harold’s desperation to impress his tough-guy father-in-law (Danny Trejo, the idea of whose casting is funnier than he’s allowed to be). The mobsters have to do with a weak subplot in which a friend of Kumar’s wants to devirginize the mob kingpin’s daughter. First of all, this is creepy. Second, the mob boss is played by Elias Koteas, who looks enough like former series mainstay Chris Meloni (who played Freakshow in the first film and a KKK grand wizard in the second) that I kept wondering why Meloni didn’t return for this one, and it took me out of the movie. Third, we spend entirely too much time with Kumar’s friend and Harold’s milquetoast friend trapped in a closet along with the latter guy’s stoned baby daughter. The movie tries for loads of laughs involving the baby getting high on weed, cocaine and ecstasy, then has the gall to be pious about Harold’s desire to have kids and Kumar’s struggle to be mature when his ex-girlfriend turns up pregnant with his seed.

And Neil Patrick Harris? He shows up for about ten minutes, doing the usual diabolical-he-man shtick he does in these movies. A scene in which he more or less rapes a back-up dancer in his Christmas stage show isn’t funny, just ugly. (He seems infected by the Kubrick crazy-face as seen on Alex in A Clockwork Orange.) Here, we learn that the farcical NPH in these movies is an aggressively hetero man pretending to be gay so he can get access to trusting women. Harris is, of course, gay in real life, which is what made the bizarro-world NPH in the other films funny, but bringing the real Harris’ sexuality into it kills the joke. Since his screen time is so limited here, too, he doesn’t have a chance to bloom into party-boy insanity, as in the previous movies. He just drops in because he's expected to.

I laughed occasionally, but it felt more like giving in. What started as a beautiful one-off, extended in a pretty decent sequel, has now grown gray at the edges. I don’t want to know that Harold and Kumar have been estranged for years; it violates the trashy fun of their earlier adventures, and makes the end of Guantanamo Bay feel hollow in retrospect. And spare me the muck about how Harold and Kumar find the true meaning of friendship, even if it does precede an obscene update of the tongue gag in A Christmas Story. At the end, they’re both facing fatherhood, Hollywood’s idea of growing up and becoming a decent member of society. (I tend to think that such wishful thinking wouldn’t survive an evening in the company of Michael Lohan.)

And I keep flashing back to Cheech and Chong. They made good movies and bad, and the bad ones truly contaminated the continent (Chong should’ve been incarcerated not for selling bongs but for "Still Smokin’"), but I don’t remember them ever stooping to reassuring us that they were really upstanding citizens at heart, who would become family men at Christmastime and give us the warm fuzzies. No, they got wrecked and they screwed up and they were funny. That used to be enough for stoner comedies.

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originally posted: 11/06/11 19:37:01
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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
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  04-Nov-2011 (R)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2012


  DVD: 06-Mar-2012

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