Film Review – A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

I am a newcomer to this duo’s franchise (bar their original Van Wilder appearance), and coming in on part three of a trilogy isn’t often a wise move. Fortunately, as I suspected, it wasn’t a problem here.
In fact, the duo are separated as the movie begins, so as they rediscover their friendship, so too do the new audience. But there are other references that clearly have bigger pay-offs for the faithful, but nothing I found alienating or overly knowing. Speaking of which, the cameo from “NPH” is legen… wait for it… dary! [Well, actually, as cameos go, it’s pretty run-of-the mill, but I saw the opportunity and took it…]
John Cho is a particular revelation as Harold, displaying an outstanding understanding of comedy. Kal Penn is given the less demanding role, but it’s also the less sympathetic, and subsequently the one with the most growth.
Yes, I did say growth. Despite its ludicrous plotting, the film does have its contemplative moments too. But with the emphasis more on “moment” than the “contemplative”. The film tips the balance in the favour of humour, and it does keep things moving.
As for the film’s humour, it gets as base as you can possibly get- from toilet humour, to racial stereotypes, to babies on drugs. But there’s something inherently likeable about the duo that makes it all forgivably amusing, rather than shocking or offensive. However, we are talking more of guilty sniggers than out-loud belly laughs.
If any film was going to get the 3D thing right… perhaps surprisingly, it was this. But even then, it only partially succeeds, taking absolute glee in mocking the 3D trend, they throw everything they can think of at the screen. Literally. Snow, dust, glass shards, cocaine, eggs, fingers, canes… Some work, but some have no impact at all.
I am delighted to see someone finally re-acknowledging that 3D is a gimmick; no more, no less. [See my Immortals review… Ask and you shall receive!]

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