It could be quite possible that I will be adding a new film to the normal Christmas season rotation. Harold and Kumar are characters I’ve been able to get a decent amount of enjoyment out of over the past few years and I have to admit that A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS could very well be my favorite of the three films so far.
The third film picks up years after ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY where Harold and Kumar have been out of touch for a period of time. Harold has married his crush Maria from the first two films, lives in a nice house and has given up smoking weed- Kumar has recently broken up with his girlfriend Vanessa and finds out that she is pregnant. On Christmas Eve a mysterious package arrives at Kumar’s apartment addressed to Harold and he sets off to give it to him. Harold is playing host to Maria’s entire family including her father who is obsessed with Christmas. When Kumar assists is burning down Maria’s father’s prized Christmas tree Harold and Kumar head out for more drug induced hijinx to save Christmas.
The Harold and Kumar movies have made a name for themselves by incorporating a lot of drug humor- weed mostly. Their Christmas adventure does most of the same in terms of weed humor but in one of the funnier running gags a baby or toddler gets introduced to and hooked to several different drugs and we get to witness the hilarious effects the drugs take on her- realistic? Not in the least but it is extremely funny nonetheless.
Previously the film has hung pretty heavily on Harold and Kumar’s friendship, which was better realized in the first film more than the second. This time around their friendship has more or less broken apart and slowly gets put back together and ends up being actually pretty heartfelt and genuine- as far as stoner comedies go. There are three new additions to the proceedings that add some extra comedic flair to the film- Todd, Adrian and Ava played respectively by Thomas Lennon, Amir Blumenfeld and a set of triplets Ashley, Chloe and Hannah Coss. While Harold and Kumar are out reuniting over their Christmas tree antics the other three are left at the house of a mobster while the baby, Ava, is high on cocaine and later suffering withdraws while they hide in a closet- almost has the makings of its own blossoming buddy movie.
John Cho and Kal Penn are as good as they’ve ever been as Harold and Kumar but both Blumenfeld and Lennon play off their costars just as well and come off just as funny. The triplets sharing time as Ava make this third film that much more funny though because as inappropriate as it is to see a baby depicted as taking and getting high on drugs is, it’s equally as adorable and funny in a weird way. Then of course Neil Patrick Harris makes his regular cameo and steals the scenes that he’s in with Penn and Cho. Harris’s scenes have always had a meta feel to them and this time around it is even more so and even more hilarious as he riffs on his sexuality and the fact that he’ll see the duo again in the fourth film.
The writing is very clever as well and given the film also jokes around with 3D it stages several scenes with the 3D gimmick of stuff intentionally filmed to come at the screen and often are part of the joke. I watched the film in 2D but it was pretty obvious where the 3D was meant to be and even just using my imagination in those scenes I could still be in on the laugh.
A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS is a very welcome return for the stoner buddies and a consistently hilarious holiday comedy. There’s a potent mix of drug related jokes, slapstick comedy and goofy charm to carry the film and make it a vast improvement over HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY and at or near the level of HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. I strongly believe people will be laughing at this for many Christmas seasons to come and that a waffle bot will be on the top of everyone’s Christmas list this year.