Friday, November 4, 2011

"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" Review

I'll admit it. I did not see the first two Harold & Kumar movies. Hey, Netflix ain't streaming them. Yeah, I know that they were stoner comedies. Kind of this decade's Cheech and Chong. But frankly, if you're like me you don't really need to see the first two to get the jokes in the third installment, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

The movie starts out with Kumar (Kai Penn) still trying to score marijuana and postponing his medical career. Meanwhile, Harold (Jon Cho) is now a successful Wall Street businessman. Harold has long left his life of partying and no longer hangs out with Kumar. Harold hopes to marry Maria. (Paula Garces) During the Christmas holidays, Maria's father, Mr. Perez played by a menacing Danny Trejo and his family visit the couple at their home. They bring with them an eight foot Christmas tree that has sentimental value. Kumar receives a package addressed to Harold. He delivers it to the home of Harold. The package contains a large marijuana cigarette. Kumar lights the cigarette up and accidentally sets the tree on fire. This forces Harold and Kumar to find a replacement tree before the Perez family returns from midnight Mass.

Folks, this is the greatest 3D marijuana movie ever made. Okay, it's the only 3D marijuana movie ever made. According to Is It Real of Fake 3D?, A Very Harold & Kumar 3d Christmas was filmed in 3D. Some of the live action doesn't show the 3D all that well. But it's the CGI effects that stand out in 3D. Um, sorry for that. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson maximizes the 3D to both emphasize it and to knowingly wink at you when you see a gigantic 3D joint move across the screen.

A great comedy comes in two varieties. Big belly laughs. See Airplane! (1980) Sleeper. (1973) Animal House. (1978) Or a it can make one feel happy about experiencing it. Arthur. (1981) Based on its pedigree, one would expect the R rated Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas to over the top funny. Surprisingly, it's not. The problem lies with writers Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg's script. It's not terrible but the movie too often is a bunch of punch lines in search of a joke. For example, Kumar fantasizes a plan to steal a Christmas tree from a Catholic church. The montage features some topless nuns. Shocking but there's no joke to the punch line. Other times the screenplay becomes a standard redemptive Christmas story. There were times I yearned for more wild comedy.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a pleasant and sometimes funny movie. If you're looking for something to make you smile, it will do the trick. The grade is B-.

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