Movie Review: A sour holiday with “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”

 

It’s about what you’d expect from a Harold & Kumar movie, this “Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.”

There’s a baby blitzed on cocaine, Neil Patrick Harris “pretending” to be gay, every manner of bodily fluid, naked nuns, Claymation,  attempted date rape, a Radio City style Christmas spectacular, a Santa shooting and a bit of comically graphic Santa surgery.

And it’s got 3D clay animation penises, not to mention clouds of 3D smoke rings wafting off the screen pretty much constantly.

Seriously, someday you guys are going to sober up, catch this on video and wonder what gave you the giggles all those White Castle runs ago.

The charm has aged right out of this silly stoner franchise, the movie series that got Kal Penn a short term job at the White House, John Cho a shot at playing Mr. Sulu and brought Neil Patrick Harris back from the dead. A few laughs peel off their latest round of transgressions  — coked up kids, racist references to Latinos, Koreans and Jews, pedophile priest gags and a graduation from that funny “gateway drug” once known as Mary Jane and into coke and Ex.

Harold is now a titan of New York finance, not brave enough to look down his nose at the protesters gathered below his office window, not wanting to disappoint his hot Latina wife. And Kumar, who never became a doctor,  is a permanently plowed 30something living in squalor and scoring pot from a toy store Santa (Patton Oswalt). What’ll it be, sir, “It’s a Weederful Life” or “Kwanzaa Cook Out?”

Circumstances hurl them together as the clumsy Kumar ensures that Harold’s Christmas tree, the one grown by his scary father-in-law (Danny Trejo), is as torched as he is. Over one long Christmas Eve, they hit tree lots, a Ukrainian mob party, a Christmas stage show hosted by a singing Neil Patrick Harris and a Catholic church in search of a replacement tree.

Yeah, stuff flies off the screen at you, even though, as Harold points out, “the whole 3D thing” has “jumped the shark by now.”

Penn’s ability to shock with his soliloquies 0f profanity is in the past, but at least his ever-present bong/pipe/joint is good for a laugh from the faithful. He can’t go out on Christmas Eve — “I gotta stay here and smoke this weed, otherwise, I won’t get high.

Supporting players don’t deliver much support, save for their old Jewish pals, played by Eddie Kay Thomas and David Krumholtz. And of course, Neil Patrick Harris, returning to the role that made him famous — playing a gonzo, over-sexed, amoral, drug-addled version of himself — delivers giggles.

But the leads, with the script’s feeble attempts at warmth and lessons about maturity (not really), just remind us that there’s nothing sadder than a 30something stoner, years of smoking and pounds of attacks of the munchies having taken their toll.

MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.

Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Patton Oswalt

Credits : Directed by  Todd Strauss-Schulson, written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.  A Warner Brothers release. Running time: 1:30

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