PG Cooper: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas Review

Posted: November 6, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: November 4th, 2011

Running time: 89 minutes

Written by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg

Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Starring: Jon Cho, Kal Penn, Thomas Lennon, Danny Trejo, and Neil Patrick Harris

Before I get into my review, I wanna talk about my history with the Harold and Kumar series. I’ve seen bits and pieces of White Castle over the years, but I’ve never actually seen the whole thing. What little I’ve seen didn’t really leave an impression. I did see Escape from Guantanamo Bay and I felt mixed on it. While I don’t remember it too well, I do remember being very mixed on it. Some if it I found quite funny, other parts were just bad. So being a series that has never done much for me, you may wonder what possessed me to see their Christmas adventure. The trailer. I thought the trailer for the film was really funny. So I decided to take a chance and check out their newest film, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.

When the film starts, Harold and Kumar (Jon Cho and Kal Penn) have drifted apart. Harold has wanted to move on with his life. He is now married, and has a successful job working in the financial market. For Christmas, Harold’s father-in-law Mr. Perez (Danny Trejo) is coming. He seems to despise Harold and is frequently at odds with him. Mr. Perez brings a Christmas tree with him that he has been growing for eight years. He explains the significance of the tree and leaves Harold in charge of it.  Kumar on the other hand is still living in the same crappy apartment. He’s hit tough times with his girlfriend and life seems tough for him without Harold. Through a chance encounter and some comedic hijinks, Harold and Kumar are reunited but the tree Mr. Perez brought is burned to the ground. The two then set out to find a new tree to serve as a replacement. And from there, things get weird.

One of the things I really liked about this story was how well it accepted the absurd nature of the plot. The writers and director knew that this story was ridiculous, so instead of trying to make it feel realistic, they just made it as crazy as possible. I also think the idea of Harold and Kumar drifting apart and coming back together was a good one and handled well. Their relationship in this film is very reminiscent of Dante and Randal in Clerks II. It doesn’t have quote the emotional resonance (at least it didn’t for me) but it’s still a welcome addition to the story. The story moves at a good pace and has some fun surprises. I must admit though, I found parts of the ending to be a bit sappy and out of place considering the type of film this is. I had this problem with the last film as well.

As much as it’s important to talk about the story, that isn’t really what this film’s main goal is. It’s goal is to be funny, and to say it succeeds would sell the film short. Quite simply, this is the funniest film I’ve seen all year, and probably the funniest comedy I’ve seen since I Love You Philip Morris. And the humour jumps around all over the place. From drugs, to sex, to racism, to references, this film jokes about everything. What’s so surprising about the film is that it’s constantly hitting you with jokes, almost all the jokes still work. In fact, I can’t think of a single joke that failed. And these laughs aren’t small chuckles either. No, these are heavy, belly laughs throughout.

The cast here is very good. Jon Cho and Kal Penn have a a lot of chemistry and are both very funny. Unlike the last film however, this film has a great supporting cast. Danny Trejo is hilarious as the pissed off father-in-law, Bobby Lee has a very funny appearance at the beginning, Elias Koteas is a pretty scary villain, and Patton Oswalt has a great appearance at the very beginning. Almost the entire cast is funny though, including bit parts from Thomas Lennon, Amir Blumenfeld, Eddie Kay Thomas, David Krumholtz, RZA, and Da’Vone McDonald. And of course, there’s Neil Patrick Harris. He’s not in the film a lot, but all his scenes stand out, and it’s worth seeing the movie just for him.

Another surprising aspect of the film was just how much the visual bits stood out. There’s some cool chases, and an awesome slow motion shoot-out. There’s also some really cool computer created visual gags which are pretty funny. Then there’s the hilarious claymation scene made even better by the awesome song “It’s A  Very Jolly Day (For You To Die)”. And then there’s the 3D. This is the first time I’m happy I saw a film in 3D. What’s funny is the stuff they do with the 3D are the things I usually hate. With people blatantly pointing at the camera our objects coming directly at the audience in obvious ways. What makes it work is that the film is making fun of 3D as much as it is celebrating it.

So as much as I enjoyed the film, I can’t recommend it to everybody. If you’re offended by jokes based around sex, violence, drugs, babies, Christmas, religion, race, or gross-out gags, then this may not be the film for you. Otherwise, I say check this out. I know we’re about to enter awards season where we start seeing classy films like The Artist and J. Edgar, and I like forward to that. But before we get there, I say we take a minute to sit back, relax, and just get some laughs. A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas provides just that.

Rating: B+

  1. C.M. Waters says:

    I do hope my financial situation stabilizes so I can see this film…. Great review!

  2. Cool! I think I’ll try to catch it sometime before Christmas. I hope the storm didn’t knock this one out for me.

    I’m glad to hear it was funny… not because I’m attached to the series or anything, it just LOOKED funny. The first trailer cracked me up. So its nice to hear it came out funny at least.

    Definitely want to see it, nice writeup dude.

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