It's that time of year again. Halloween is over, which means it is Christmas season. Screw Thanksgiving. Between now and the end of the year, it's the time for buying gifts, holiday parties, snow, bad sweater parties, decorating the Christmas tree and enjoying the heartwarming Christmas movies that grace the airwaves, that embrace the holiday spirit, celebrate Christ and bring families closer together. Christmas movies like A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
The lovable Indian and cranky Asian are back in the third installment of the Harold & Kumar franchise, and nothing is off limits. Santa may or may not get shot in the head. Harold may or may not get his penis stuck to a cold metal pole. Jesus Christ himself may or may not walk around with topless women. A little kid may or may not spend the movie high on weed, cocaine and ecstasy.
As with the other two movies, plot is unimportant. It's the shenanigans the two get into, regardless of whether they make sense, that make the movie. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas relies on frenetic bursts of craziness, and fans of Harold and Kumar will not be disappointed. Too much.
In the movie, the two characters have grown considerably since their original, classic trek to White Castle. The actors who play them have as well. John "Sulu" Cho has seen his star power rise with the latest incarnation of Star Trek, while Penn retired Brett Favre-style from acting to work for President Obama (he had to resign from that post to fill a contractual agreement to make this movie). A little older, and in Penn's case a little chubbier, the characters are a bit more subdued, as is the movie overall. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas lacks energy at times, its over-the-top antic not quite as over-the-top, or at least not as consistently over-the-top, as in previous entries.
And yet for those who hold Harold and Kumar near and dear to their hearts, it's still a legitimately entertaining movie, containing more than enough of just-wrong bits to satisfy. The actors may have outgrown their characters, but the movie acknowledges it, shrugging off its unnecessary existence with a "so the f**k what?" attitude that is what makes this franchise so fun in the first place.
When Harold and Kumar go on a bad trip and discover they've become claymation characters, or when Neil Patrick Harris reveals that his being gay is just a ruse to get more "pootang", or when Harold accidentally shoots Santa Claus out of the sky with a shotgun, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas lives up to its predecessors. The fact that it acknowledges just how stupid 3D is, while lobbing all kinds of three-dimensional juices at the screen (note: I saw this movie in 2D), doesn't hurt. Hell, it acknowledges how dumb the entire production is... but wasn't that the point of the first movie, too?
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is, despite its foul-mouthed, penis-burning, drug-smoking approach, a surprisingly good Christmas movie. It isn't quite as hard-hitting as Bad Santa was, but it is more fun. It isn't as good as White Castle, but did anyone expect it to be? It would have been great to see a cruder, zanier story, but A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas has me hoping there will be a fourth movie to fulfill those desires. Speaking of, Paula Garces looked pretty damn good.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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