Posted November 15, 2011 by David Watson in Films
 
 

A Very Harold & …


Harold And Kumar must

It takes a lot
for a film to genuinely shock me.
I found I Spit On Your Grave grueling but not shocking. I barely raised an eyebrow during The
Human Centipede 1 & 2.
Kill
Keith
shocked me but that was more because I was shocked someone thought it
was a good idea. Salo
shocked me. Maybe A Serbian
Film
. Like I said, it takes a
lot for a film to shock me.

But I was genuinely shocked when A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas was awarded an 18 certificate. An 18? For a good-natured stoner comedy? Has the world gone mad? Has our Big Brother/Nanny State really gotten that bad? Then again, it may be the only American
mainstream Christmas film you’ll see featuring a cocaine and ecstasy-crazed
toddler, a man’s penis frozen to a pole and jolly old Saint Nick getting shot
in the face. And if that offends
you, you’re a spineless jellyfish who really should be sitting in an afternoon
matinee screening of Arthur Christmas.

Possibly the best Christmas film since Richard Donner’s 1988 Bill
Murray
-vehicle Scrooged (Remember when Bill Murray was funny?), A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas reunites the stoner
buddies who, since escaping from Guantanamo Bay in the last movie, have become
estranged. Investment banker Harold
(John Cho) is now married to the beautiful Maria (Paula Garces)
and living in the suburbs, Kumar (Kal Penn) is still perpetually stoned
and living in the apartment they used to share. The former best buds haven’t spoken in years.

When a mysterious package arrives at the apartment for Harold, Kumar
decides to deliver it on Christmas Eve kicking off a chain of events which will
see Harold’s hostile Hispanic gangster father-in-law’s (Danny Trejo)
prized Christmas Tree reduced to ash and the two former BFFs rediscovering
their lost friendship as they spend a wild night searching Manhattan for a
replacement tree.

In the process they’ll be drugged, beaten, kidnapped by Ukrainian
gangsters, chased by an evil, claymation snowman of Godzilla-like proportions,
forced to dance in a Broadway show with Neil Patrick Harris and
accidentally shoot Santa Claus in the face while Harold’s strait-laced friend
Todd’s (Thomas Lennon) infant daughter will end up hoovering up more
drugs (weed, coke, ecstasy) than a Grateful Dead roadie.

Pant-wettingly, unrepentantly funny and bursting with the most outrageous
3D gags ever to almost poke your eye out A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas is cheerfully transgressive. Pot smoke swirls around the audience,
all manner of things fly towards your face (hot waffle batter, a burning
Christmas tree, semen, snowballs, eggs, Neil Patrick Harris’ hat), a snake-like
claymation penis practically parts your hair, Avatar jokes.

But while it’s hilariously vulgar, like any good Christmas film, a sentimental
heart beats at the centre of A
Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas
; you just need to unwrap a sleigh-load of dick
jokes to get to it. While the
set-pieces become increasingly demented and ridiculous, the rekindling of
Harold and Kumar’s bromance is genuinely touching. And just as it threatens to become too saccharine along
comes another dick joke, some naked nuns, a toddler rubbing coke into her gums
and Neil Patrick Harris.

Ah, Neil Patrick Harris.
Gleefully offensive, hilariously self-mocking, NPH (as he refers to
himself onscreen) once again plays a parallel universe version of himself
that’s a drug-crazed, misogynist horndog though this time he gets his own Busby
Berkeley-style song and dance number before he and real-life boyfriend David
Burtka
mercilessly send their relationship up, both masquerading as
straight men who despise each other pretending to be gay monogamous lovers in
order to further there careers and pick up chicks (typical exchange after
kissing for the press: “What did I tell you
about using tongue?” “You told me to make it realistic.” “Yeah, realistic! Not
f***ing gay as sh*t!”). NPH’s cameo as his
pantomime self almost makes up for The Smurfs movie. Almost.

Ultimately though, the film works because of John Cho and Kal Penn. Since the first two films they’ve both
grown up, grown older, found success.
Cho recently cemented his action man status as an ass-kicking Mr Sulu in
the rebooted Star Trek, Penn found success in TV’s House before
quitting acting for the White House where he’s Obama’s Associate Director of
Public Engagement (he took a hiatus for A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas).
But stick a blunt in their hands and the old magic is back.

Absurd, surreal and gloriously funny, A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas may not be It’s A Wonderful Life
but then again James Stewart never had to rip his frozen penis from a metal
pole or feed a toddler ecstasy.
Every generation has its special Christmas film.


David Watson

 
David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com