Our friends, Harold and Kumar, produced two spectacular comedies—the first, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was highly received. The second, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, was still a hit, despite a less than stellar reception. And in this pair’s most recent take on the stoner genre, Harold and Kumar again leave the audience in stitches with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.
We begin six years after their episode in Guantanamo Bay, and the two have since had a falling out. Harold ( John Cho) has seemingly moved on with his life—he’s now married to Maria, works a high-paying job in Manhattan, and is trying to have a child. Kumar ( Kal Penn), on the other hand, is still living the bachelor’s life. Recently broken up with his darling girlfriend, Kumar is now strutting a beard, a heavier belly, and is of course, still smoking tons of grass. They’ve completely moved on with their lives until, oddly enough, a package addressed to Harold is found in front of Kumar’s door.
Flummoxed, Kumar takes the package in and decides he will deliver it to his old friend, Harold. After a quick smoke (of course), Kumar receives yet another unexpected surprise—his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa ( Danneel Ackles), has arrived to deliver some news. She’s pregnant, and she’s looking to Kumar for help. Undoubtedly higher than a kite, Harold can’t help but notice (and become entranced by) A Christmas Story playing on TV (the part where Ralphie gets his tongue stuck to a pole), and seeing this, Vanessa leaves in a fury.
Kumar leaves with his geeky neighbor Adrian ( Amir Blumenfeld of CollegeHumor), and together they drive to Harold’s house to deliver this mysterious package. When they pull up, Kumar can’t but help feel a little intimidated, yet he goes to the door and rings the bell. An awkward moment ensues, and finally Harold invites Kumar in.
Only a few moments later, the gang is back to their usual antics, beginning when Kumar incinerates Harold’s Christmas tree—a particularly special tree that his angry father-in-law had spent years growing. With the tree up in flames, both know they must hunt down the perfect replacement tree—Harold for the sake of his marriage, and Kumar for the sake of his old friend.
The adventure that ensues includes run-ins with the Ukranian mob, a riotous cameo with Neil Patrick Harris, and an incident with Santa Claus himself. As these disasters unfold, the rekindling of the friendship between Harold and Kumar is surprisingly natural and pretty funny for a stoner genre. The big-budget performance is obvious in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas—the filmmakers make gratuitous use the RealD technology. The first scene, involving Bobby Lee and the Occupy Wall Street protestors, is an awesome scene akin to 300-like epic proportions.
And lastly, I’ve read reports that this film is “too raunchy.” I didn’t get that at all—instead, I found the newest installment as refreshing as ever and, in my opinion, the best of the Harold and Kumar series. For the cameos, references, impeccable use of 3D, acting, and original comedy script, I award A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas four-and-a-half Patches out of five.