Sunday, November 27, 2011


As an Asian guy in his 20s, the first Harold and Kumar movie meant a lot to me.  It felt groundbreaking for its accurate portrayals of its minority leads.  That is, Harold and Kumar weren't caricatures.  They didn't speak with foreign accents or act ridiculous just because they were different.  They were intelligent and well-spoken.  They were me albeit with lots of pot-smoking.  They were ordinary guys living an ordinary life while on one extraordinary quest to White Castle.  Even better, the movie itself was good.  The writing and plot were intelligent, ridiculous, bizarre, and surreal... but fun.  It was a fun movie that felt subversive for addressing racism and stereotypes without being overly heavy and preachy.  The second was underwhelming but had its moments.  It felt unfocused and rehashed a lot of the same jokes. It seemed like there was no story to tell, and the studio just wanted a sequel to capitalize on the firsts' success before anything could really be polished.

So, seven years after the original and three years after the sequel, we have A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS.  I wanted to love this movie, but as the previous film, it was good not great.  The story in this installment takes place 8 years after Harold and Kumar had some falling out.  Harold is a successful something or other and is happily married to Maria.  Danny Trejo plays Maria's father who deeply cares about Christmas trees (explained in an amusing flashback bit).  Kumar is the same guy as the previous two... only pudgier and with a big beard.  A mysterious package brings the two together, and Kumar accidentally destroys the tree that Danny Trejo brought.  The plot of the movie becomes the duo's search for a Christmas tree.  Seems ridiculous, but the plot of the first movie was to get White Castle.  More after the break...

Unfortunately, it wasn't as funny as either of the preceding films.  It didn't feel new or original.  I had no "lose my shit moments."  I can still remember those moments from the first two.  I saw this in a mostly empty theater, and funny movies are always funnier when there are more people laughing.  The energy was different, so my review may be a bit skewed because of that.

The sequel introduces two new guys that served as Harold and Kumar's friends until they are reunited.  I don't remember their names.  I don't care about them enough to look up their information on imdb.  They weren't funny.  Their subplot wasn't funny.  They characters were both tools and got entirely too much screen time.  They were Jar Jar Binks split into two.  One was made necessary to forward the plot and the other was "necessary" to give us the baby using drugs running joke.  Blech.

The 3D was good actually.  It's the kind of movie that can get away with adding a scene to use 3D just to have 3D.  The filmmakers took every opportunity to do something in 3D, and that is a good thing.  Very strange...VERY strange things pop out at you in 3D.  The novelty never quite wore off, but it seems like entirely too much of the film relied on the idea that strange things in 3D would be hilarious.

The usual NPH cameo was awesome, and his husband's cameo was also awesome... but it went too fast.  He still plays a crazy version of himself... this time almost raping someone.  It was actually kind of uncomfortable to watch.  I know it's just a cameo, but the movie are always a bit more fun with him involved.

Just realized that Christoper Meloni wasn't in this one.  His presence was missed.  In both movies, his manic insane characters brought life to the story.

Elias Koteas (who will always be the Ninja Turtles' Casey Jones to me) plays a brief but serviceable villain... but he lacks screen time.  Totally underused.

This movie introduced Wafflebot which was just absurd enough to be really, really funny.  Wafflebot, as the name should imply, is a robot that makes waffles.  It may end up being my favorite part of the movie.

I hate to say it, but Kal Penn and John Cho just don't seem to have that gleeful spark that they did in the first movie.  They seem... older.  But, to be fair, they are older and have bigger fish to fry these days.  Hell, Cho just worked on one of the biggest movies in years (STAR TREK) and Penn's been working for the White House.  The enthusiasm just doesn't seem there anymore.

A part of this movie that needs to be addressed is that this is a Christmas movie.  It definitely has the Christmas movie feel: Family and friends coming together (...although I would have loved if more of the original cast or sequel returned for this one... That's a staple of a Christmas special.), love, and Santa.  It even adds the new staples of a Christmas movie like stop-motion animation (kind of overdone at this point).  But it's a Christmas movie that tries to be shocking with its heavy usage of penises, drugs, and other crazy exploits.  Despite those shocking things, it still felt tame when compared to a truly screwed up Christmas movie like BAD SANTA.

Overall... It's the kind of movie that will and could live on on Comedy Central... and you can probably wait until then to catch it.  I don't regret seeing it, and I'll still see whatever sequels they do because that first movie still moved me enough to want to support whatever they do.

I give it 6 out of 10 Geese-a-Laying.

1 comment:

  1. This movie for christmas was disgusting it defiled every christmas icon from the baby Jesus to santa it tribute to christmas story was disgusting. These guys are good actors but this movie was disgusting some what funny doesn't justify the ripping of a holiday.