By Dr. Craig D. Reid
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas? More like a 3R Christmas…raunchy, rowdy and sometimes rollicking. If this film could’ve added about 20 more sight gags then it would have been a perfect American nod to Monty Python’s The Holy Grail (1974). Each movie focuses on the characters doing arcane, stupid and silly things all in the name of some great quest, an “in search of” nittiness, an odyssey of opulent proportions that brings old comrades going in different directions, path down the same direction in an effort to make their respective worlds better and balanced.
The whole of point of H&K films is that they are supposed to be wild and wacky adventures where the characters will try anything for a lark with little disregard for political correctness, especially when it comes to effacing racial stereotypes and erasing pigeon hole casting. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) broke precedence and created non-stereotypic Asian and South Asian characters complete without phony-bologna accents and speaking American as any American. They dreamed of White Castle burgers and not curried rice or kimchi.
Mainstream audiences enjoyed the film because the characters were minorities who saw themselves as majorities while mixing it up with a crazed raccoon, lustful women and an off center Neil Patrick Harris taking the mickey out of himself, which in turn moused him back to TV where he played a H&K version of NPH in How I Met Your Mother. It worked and four years later they hit the road again in the inferior Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008), which ironically earned twice as much as the first film.
Wait a minute…didn’t Holy Grail feature a crazed animal (rabbit) and lusty women?
Now they’re back, childish men in their thirties, they’ve grown apart, one successful, the other not, one married, one not, one still a pot head, the other a money head, one “dirty” the other “clean.” It’s a yin yang mess waiting to be thrown out of balance…and oh yes, it’s a Christmas movie.
Over the past several decades, it’s a rare event that any Christmas movie earns the label “A Holiday Classic,” and certainly 3D Christmas is going to keep that record alive. Yet Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) have once again found themselves thrust into the middle of daft when immature unemployed slacker Kumar is forced to deliver a Christmas present to the mature, white collar, successful in business Harold whose life is being stifled by his in-laws. Upon the present being unwrapped things unravel for the lads as their new quest, to find a Douglas fir Christmas tree, sends them down familiar, unchartered territory.
The zigzag treasure hunt finds our heroes in for a real tree-t as they a have run in with a Ukrainian drug Tsar, a love in with virgins, a fly in with a high-as-a-kite four-year old, a sky in with Santa Claus and a reunite in with a return from the dead Neil Patrick Harris claiming to be gay but uses his UFO wiles against a group of Rockettes.
After a slew of summer films that claimed they were 3D, where watching the film without the specs was about the same as watching the film with the specs, 3D Christmas was surprising 3D superior to many of the season’s blockbusters. The reason they could pull it off is because the 3D shots were so overt and in your face, they weren’t trying to hide behind the notion of, “Oh, look how cool we are with our expensive, subliminal 3D flick that is so good that you can’t tell it’s really in 3D.”
In honor of being a Christmas movie, the filmmakers transport us back to what made TV Christmas specials so special during the 1960s and early 1970s…Claymation animation. Yes, there was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), The Little Drummer Boy (1968) and Santa Claus is coming to Town (1970), but now move over, there’s Harold and Kumar the Drugged Out Tree Hunters that have a run in with a sticky situation ala the real classic Christmas movie A Christmas Story (1983).
At the end of the day, like any other Christmas film, it all boils down to the those well placed obvious magic of Christmas themes and songs that sets our moods, hearts, devotions and emotions with bell ringing “oooeee, ooooeee” beats.
Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it and if you don’t…well at least there is no denomination a week later when we all celebrate New Year.