Six years after the events of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Harold (John Cho) is married to Maria and working a high-paying job at a prestigious investment firm, while Kumar (Kal Penn) is still getting baked out of his mind and doing nothing with his life. When a mysterious package addressed to Harold appears on the doorstep of their old apartment, Kumar decides to pay his old friend a visit and deliver the parcel, but the reunion goes south when the beautiful homegrown Christmas tree in Harold’s living room is destroyed, and the duo embark on a journey to replace it before Harold’s Korean-hating father-in-law (Danny Trejo) gets home from Midnight Mass.
From one mishap to the next, the boys try to come to grips with adulthood and responsibility, and attempt to rekindle their long-lost friendship while dealing with, among other things, a wild downtown party, a crazed Russian mobster, a robot that makes waffles, and a toddler that manages to ingest a variety of illicit substances throughout the evening. Not every joke works as well as we’d like, but the film charges ahead with such a relentless pace that when the occasional misfire occurs, the audience barely has time to notice before the next gag comes flying at them. Of particular note is the obligatory return of Neil Patrick Harris as “himself,” whose explanation for being alive and well despite being gunned down outside a Texas whorehouse comes via an insanely raunchy flashback sequence preceded by an outrageously dark riff on Harris’ real-life sexuality.
Series writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg continue the trend of skewering nearly every racial and cultural stereotype under the sun, but manage to inject a healthy dose of heart and warmth into a film that contains a seemingly limitless supply of vulgarity, sexuality, and of course, marijuana. The filmmakers have insisted that this is not a parody of classic films, but rather an homage to a long-lost genre, and it’s hard not to agree when you see the boys rendered in Claymation or updating an iconic scene from A Christmas Story.
Much like their on-screen counterparts, Cho and Penn have taken very different career paths, but they manage to easily step back into the shoes of their on-screen counterparts. Cho still plays an excellent “straight man” to Penn’s offensive misadventurer, and the comedic chemistry between them has never been more palpable. Whether they’re attempting to infiltrate a church basement to hijack a replacement tree, or feverishly trying to save the life of Santa Claus after accidentally shooting him out of the sky, the duo attack each scene with reckless abandon, and the results are consistently hilarious.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10
For more on A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, be sure to check out our interview with Jon Cho and Kal Penn.