A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

It feels like several lifetimes since we last saw the once amiable stoner duo escape from Guantanamo Bay. Things are not the same these days. Set 6 years following the events of the last film, Harold and Kumar have drifted apart and are now estranged. Harold is married and adjusting to his new wife’s family. He’s replaced his best friend with Todd. Kumar also has a new buddy named Adrian. Harold and Kumar are just not as tight as they used to be.

If that overwrought setup feels like it’s missing the joy of what made the original so winning, you’d be right. The story takes off after Kumar accidentally burns down Harold’s father-in-law’s treasured Christmas tree. The two are compelled to scour New York City for the perfect one to replace it. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is an unfunny movie and surprisingly joyless for a story set during the holidays. For much of the picture the two once close friends don’t even like each other. They’re much different characters now. Harold has grown up and acts like a respectable adult and Kumar solely lives to just smoke weed. Both trajectories are disheartening for contrary reasons. Harold is a buzzkill and Kumar just seems mentally underdeveloped. Watching actor Kal Penn in his mid-30s still driven by an all consuming desire to just smoke pot and nothing more, is not convincing. Almost like he left his position as Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House to make a comedy about marijuana.

To be fair, this is a marked improvement over the execrable Escape from Guantanamo Bay which seems like a dated relic today. But A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas tries too hard to wallow in poor taste. The disrespectful humor is reminiscent of Bad Santa but nowhere near as trenchant. It’s soft not subversive, over-relying on moronic frat boy antics than scathing comedy. I will say the production does make good use of the 3D effects. There’s lots of scenes of flying glass shards and smoke that seemingly drifts out into the theater. There’s also a hilarious line when Harold, upon meeting his wife’s mother for the first time, mistakes her for someone else. I think there’s one more knee-slapper somewhere in there but I can‘t remember it anymore. I’ll give the stoner comedy 2 stars, one for each laugh. Hey they were pretty good laughs.

7 Responses to “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”

  1. I absolutely agree with your review, Mark. I remember seeing the “unrated” version of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and after that, I vowed never to see a Harold & Kumar film again. I feel, for some reason, like I’m the only one who didn’t even remotely appreciate the first film. I liked reading the end of your review where you basically said that there were two solid laughs in the entire film. Nice review!


    • Thanks. I actually enjoyed the first film for what it was. There’s a feeling of disdain that infects the sequels by the filmmakers for their own creation. That’s no fun.


      • I just didn’t like the first one because it was a “hard-R” comedy, and that’s the main reason that I will never intentionally see one, ever again. Maybe it was because I saw the “unrated” edition that I thought it was over-the-top with regards to sex and drugs (and rock n’ roll)…


  2. This was a lazy, unfunny movie.3d was pretty good, and NPH was pretty funny. Bah humbug!


  3. Great review, Mark! I love the holiday season, so that’s mainly why I want to see this film. I watched the first and liked it alright, but I didn’t care much for the sequel.


  4. I absolutely loved the film.


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