Friday, November 4, 2011

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) - Happy Holidazed


Ingredients: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Danny Trejo, Thomas Lennon, Amir Blumenfeld, Paula Garces, Danneel Harris, Patton Oswalt, Eddie Kaye Thomas, David Krumholtz, RZA, Bobby Lee, Richard Riehle and Elias Koteas. Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Run time: 90 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I had a free ticket for a 3D movie eating a hole in my wallet. Plus, having watched three horror movies over the last few days, I wanted to see something funny. Luckily, the midnight show was nowhere near sold out. I wouldn't guess too many Christmas movies get midnight showings, especially 3-4 days after Halloween. It did seem a little weird to me.

Even though it's been just three years since the duo escaped from Guantanamo Bay, six years have elapsed in the movie world. Harold (Cho) is married, drug-free and working on Wall Street. Kumar (Penn) is on the splits with his girlfriend, and always looking for a new high. The two friends haven't spoken in a long time.

Harold's father-in-law, Mr. Perez (Trejo), and the rest of the Perez family are visiting for the holidays. Mr. Perez even brings a Christmas tree he's been growing for the last eight years. A package addressed to Harold shows up at Kumar's, so Kumar decides to deliver it to his ex-best friend.

And, that's when things unravel. Just like old times.

Tough to Swallow: The feces on Todd's driver-side window changes pattern/position in the shots following the initial incident.

When we're first introduced to Adrian, he has his back to the camera for his first lines. His mouth isn't moving in sync with those lines.

The same sync issue crops up when Neil Patrick Harris is talking to Gracie on stage after the rehearsal.

Said rehearsal wasn't recorded, yet Harold and the Perez family watch it on television (in 3D) later in the film.

On Christmas morning, Santa's hat is lying on the floor in Harold's house. Right before the credits roll, Santa flies toward the screen wearing his hat.

Brett Gelman is credited as T.V. Director. You don't abbreviate television (TV) with periods. It's one word.

Something to Chew On: The famous triple-dog dare scene from A CHRISTMAS STORY not only appears in the film, but it's also reworked.

There are at least three 3D references in the movie.

Three sisters play the role of Todd's daughter, Ava.

NPH's partner, David Burtka, appears, not as himself, but as a crazy version of himself (just like NPH has done throughout the series).

Sergei (Koteas) watches MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION.

The movie will feel topical for those seeing it in theaters because of the scene with the Wall Street protesters.

In the credits, a song on the soundtrack is titled "Dougie Houser" (by Envy). Listening to the song on, the group pronounces the name Doogie Howser. I'm going to chalk it up to a copyright issue instead of two misspellings.

Aftertaste: This is only the second 3D movie I've seen in theaters (HP7: Part 2). This film uses 3D to better effect. Eggs and traffic cones actually fly at you, and the pot smoking scenes are much cooler to watch. Nothing really popped out at you during HP7. I don't really understand the point of 3D when the film would look basically the same without it.

However, the characters (and filmmakers) here mock the use of 3D. I like a 
movie that can make fun of itself, and be smart about it. I wouldn't say there are a lot of laughs unless you're actually a stoner. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud during a movie. This sequel didn't reach that pinnacle, but I remember four things that induced an under-the-breath chuckle: 1) Wafflebot commercial, 2) baby girl on drugs, 3) NPH wiping his mouth and 4) the real-life events happening during the clay animation scene.

To me, the scenes with NPH are the funniest, which is no different than the first two films of the series. I'm a big fan of self-deprecating humor.

I will say I would not have paid full 3D price for a ticket to see this. I refuse to pay to see a movie in 3D. Unfortunately, I've now used my two free 3D movie tickets.

If you like the first two, then you won't be disappointed in A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS. I gave the original 2.5 stars, and the first sequel 3 stars. It's no BAD SANTA, but it is definitely an adult-themed Christmas flick that will draw the under-30 crowd.


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