A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) R

Well, lookie here! Our good friends Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are back at their usual self-destructive ways in 2011! This time around they're ruining Christmas for themselves and everyone else in their path. While it's not easy to admit, I actually thoroughly enjoyed White Castle and Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Both films were completely ludicrous from start to finish, but contained one knee-slapper after another. The chemistry between the leads was palpable, the supporting casts were killer and the scripts were filled with relevant humor. A sequel wasn't really necessary, but what the hell; it was funny. This film, however, was utterly unnecessary, and it sure seemed like that from the very beginning. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (who co-wrote the first two successful films) have obviously run out of fresh material for Harry and Kum, because the laughs just simply do not arrive. What's the deal with all the annoyingly redundant 3D these days? Why does a basic crass comedy need to burn our retinas with flying dildos and coked-up babies? 3D needs to disappear, and fast. No one cares anymore.

You have a serious problem on your hands when the funniest scene of the film doesn't involve either of your main characters, and it's a scene where a short Asian dude (Bobby Lee) gets blasted by a 1,000 eggs. First time director Todd Strauss-Schulson's inexperience and inabilities were evident with the sloppy camera work, slow-burning narrative and lack of chemistry from the entire cast. What baffles me is that the majority of the critics actually found this film amusing. You people need to get your heads checked, because this film bored me to tears and made me regret ever liking Harold and Kumar in the first place.

Strauss-Schulson wastes a pretty decent comedic cast that includes Thomas Lennon (Out Cold, I Love You, Man), Patton Oswalt (Big Fan, Observe and Report), Bobby Lee (MADtv), Eddie Kaye Thomas, David Krumholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Elias Koteas (Let Me In, Defendor), Danny Trejo (Machete, Predators) and RZA (Funny People, Repo Men). So, the film is set three years since the whole Guantanamo Bay incident in which Harold and Kumar were incarcerated, escaped, took a raft to the States, traveled to the south and ended up in Texas on President Bush's ranch. They dodged some bullets, and once again ended up living to tell the story.

Harold and Kumar have since gone their separate ways. Harold is now married to Maria (Paula Garces), and has joined a very successful law firm. Whereas, Kumar has broken up with Vanessa (Danneel Ackles) and was booted from medical school. Their lives are heading in very different paths. Harold's new lame best friend Todd (Lennon) adores Harold, and aspires to be just like him. Todd is a family man with a very dull sense of humor, but is safe best friend who won't get him arrested or possibly killed. Maria's demanding and hard to please father (Trejo) is coming to town for Christmas, so Harold wants everything to be perfect. Or there's a distinct possibility he will get stabbed.

Meanwhile, Kumar's apartment is completely trashed. Clothes and old food scraps litter the place. Kumar spends his days and nights getting high and eating snack food while giggling to infomercials. His next door neighbor Adrian (Amir Blumefeld) often comes over to get high and waste away his youth. One afternoon (Christmas Eve to be exact) Kumar gets a mysterious package intended for Harold. Kumar doesn't open the package, but asks Adrian to give him a lift to Harold's so he can drop off the strange box. A newly bathed and shaved Kumar rings the doorbell, somewhat nervous, but also nostalgic. Harold answers and they chat for a while, but the chemistry between the characters, as well as the actors themselves, seems to have been misplaced.

Kumar gives Harold the package, which he eventually opens. The contents of the box turns out to be a extra large doobie. Harold thinks this is just a ploy for Kumar to get Harold to start smoking weed again. When Harold isn't looking, Kumar lights the mammoth roach, which Harold slaps out of his hand. The joint ends up under the Christmas tree, which has apparently been in the Perez family for years and years. The tree starts on fire of course, and when they're both unsuccessful in putting it out, Kumar tosses it out the window. Harold is heartbroken and extremely worried that Maria's father will perhaps shank him when he finds out about his precious tree. He kicks Kumar out of his house and once again out of his life.

A sincere Kumar feels bad about this predicament, so he decides to go on a tree hunt with Adrian, which could be prove to be difficult because it's a very rare type of tree. Meanwhile, Harold has similar ideas and asks Todd to help him find an identical tree. Todd, being very resourceful, finds the last remaining tree in town which matches the description. They reserve the tree, and all is back to normal. However, Kumar and Adrian find it first. The conniving tree salesmen jack up the price, but they're able to buy it at a somewhat reasonable price. They exit the tree lot just as Todd and Harold roll in; but they're about to get disappointed.

While on the way back to Harold's, Adrian wrecks his car in a serious rollover. No one gets hurt, because that's what happens when you go spinning through the air at 60 miles an hour. Harold just happens to have witnessed the wreck, so he lends a caring hand, not realizing it was Kumar and Adrian. They dust each other off, but when Harold realizes that Kumar bought their tree (which was trashed in the accident) he goes irate.

Adrian begins to talk about this 18-year-old virgin he met on the Internet, and how he has to get over to her place so he can deflower her. Real classy. He shows off his impending prize, and Harold notices the perfect tree in the background. So, they head to this random party at this amazing apartment filled with high school kids. They spot the tree and begin to transport it, but the ruler of the house (a little teenage bitch) stops them in their tracks. After some discussion, they decide to play a game of beer pong to settle the score. Meanwhile upstairs, Adrian is about to get his groove on with this young virgin (Jordan Hinson), but when he finds out she's the daughter of the murderous mob-boss Sergei Katsov (Elias Koteas) he begins to have second thoughts. Downstairs, Harold and Kumar eventually win the pong match, but they also get drugged by some punk kids.

Sergei comes home in the middle of the party to find his daughter half naked trying to get Harold and Kumar to have intercourse with her. He obviously takes it the wrong way and starts shooting up the place. Adrian, Todd and his infant daughter take shelter in a walk-in closet, while Harold and Kumar manage to get out of the apartment and out of the building. The problem is that they're both high on acid. They begin to hallucinate that a giant killer snowman is terrorizing the streets. The entire acid trip scene is done in claymation, which is absolutely unfunny in every aspect. They eventually get back to reality and continue their hunt for the world's best Christmas tree.

Things go from bad to worse in the latter third of the film with Sergei Katsov on their tail. They have a run in with the infamous Neil Patrick Harris (who's as funny as ever) in a very funny scene, but by that point the movie has gone off the deep end with one boring scene after another. I just don't find magical ping-pong balls, cocaine addicted babies climbing on walls, penises getting stuck to poles and Santa Claus getting shot in the face very funny. Sorry. If you've ever seen a Harold and Kumar film, then you already know that it has a ridiculous and sappy happy ending.

I just really hope a fourth film is not on the way, because I'm done with this franchise. This film is thoroughly unfunny throughout. Why the high praise from the critics? Was I the only one not high while viewing this mind-numbing, dull and repetitive film? My suggestion is to skip, skip, skip this awful comedy. Steer clear, folks.
C-

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