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A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: A-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: A-

Full disclosure, I saw A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas as merely A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, because it had been out for so long that the theatre's 3D-capable screening rooms were all booked up with newer 3D movies. The woman at the ticket desk assured us that seeing it in 2D would work just fine -- and she was right. The thing is, particularly in the first half hour or so, there's a fair amount of obvious 3D-related gags, but as long as you know they were intended to be seen in 3D, the gags still work. Thus, just like pretty much always, the $3 3D surcharge is totally unnecessary.

The movie was fun as hell as it was. I'm tempted to say it was the most depraved Christmas movie I've ever seen, but then I remember Bad Santa. The difference is that A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas has no mean-spiritedness whatsoever. Certainly a large amount of its humor hinges on how depraved it is (the real Santa gets shot in the face; a baby gets high on a multitude of drugs), but, believe it or not, it's actually all in good fun. Pretty much all the characters have a heart of gold, which lends an air of genuine joy to the proceedings.

Now, that "heart of gold" business is admittedly the one area where this movie arguably goes, at least slightly, into unnecessary territory. I've long had an issue with gross-out comedies clearly feeling obligated to toss in an undercurrent of wholesomeness, and there is a dash of that here. The importance of friendship, and all that. I don't necessarily take issue with wholesomeness on principle either, but it doesn't quite work when it feels obligatory. Thankfully, that part of it is short-lived here. We need to save time for things like the cameo by Niel Patrick Harris -- which, okay, is also obligatory -- depicted as a douchebag womanizer.

And, okay, I did have mixed feelings about NPH playing up his having come out since the last movie, Harold & Kumar Excape From Guantanamo Bay (2008), which I did not see, and it made little difference to this movie. But finding a way to keep this version of NPH consistent in the franchise was the only way, really, to make his presence make much sense. And you know what? The sequences with him (leading a song and dance number -- of course; getting "cock blocked" by Jesus in heaven) were still funny. This is like an alternate-universe Neil Patrick Harris, and the man plays him exceedingly well.

And that, as always, is the crux: this movie is funny. I laughed and laughed, enough so the plot, such as it was, hardly matters, but I'll tell a bit of it anyway. Harold and Kumar are now estranged. Harold is doing very well for himself, living in a huge house with a Latina wife he's trying to get pregnant, and trying desperately to impress his Christmas-loving father-in-law by going all-out with the Christmas decorations. His father-in-law, unimpressed with the "faux tree," brings his own tree he's grown for the past eight years. This is where Kumar comes in: he gets a package for Harold at his dumpy apartment and brings it to him. They open it and find a gigantic joint, which Kumar immediately lights up. When Harold tries to throw it out the window, it blows back in and torches that Christmas tree. Most of the movie follows the adventures of them going around New York trying to find a replacement tree while Harold's in-laws are at midnight mass.

And, of course, all sorts of disgusting and/or hilarious things happen. Harold's pathetic excuse for a new friend from work (Thomas Lennon) is the one who is tagging along with the baby who is unlucky enough to find marijuana to be a gateway drug. Kumar's young neighbor (Amir Blumenfeld) is on a quest to deflower a girl he met online but turns out to be the daughter of New York City's most notorious mob boss -- hence the inevitable presence of guns and drugs. Santa Claus doesn't really make an appearance until very near the end, but as he should be, he's worth the wait.

And A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas [3D not necessary] is totally worth a look, if all you're looking for is a good couple of hours of hearty laughs. That's all this kind of movie promises, and it delivers.

John Cho and Kal Penn offer up a truly depraved Christmas movie in <i>A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS.

Overall: B+
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