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Once again the magic of the holidays revives the third installment of a comedy movie franchise. In 1989 the Griswald family bounced back from their dismal European vacation with NATIONIAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, and now after their lackluster Guantanamo Bay escape those best buds are back in top form with A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS. I’ll warn you that this film isn’t the family friendly romp with Chevy Chase’s clan-it earns that R rating, but it’s a return of the same kind of smart ‘ dumb’ comedy craftsmanship that imbued that original quest for “sliders”. And since it’s ” the most wonderful time of the year’, there’s a little extra to tug at your heart-strings ( to offset those sore-from-laughter ribs ).

 After their last misadventure things have radically changed for one half of this doper-duo. Harold ( John Cho ) is now a successful Wall Street investor complete with fawning assistant ( Bobby Lee ) and a group of protesters outside his building ( like our current occupiers in the news ). He’s got a spacious house in the suburbs he shares with his Latin bombshell wife Maria ( Paula Garces ), who’s VERY ready to start a family. Speaking of family, her kin, headed by her intimidating dad ( Danny Trejo ) are spending the holidays there. Meanwhile things are not going so well with Kumar ( Kal Penn ). After failing his medical school drug test and getting dumped by his gal Vanessa, he spends most of his days getting high and watching TV. That is until a package for Harold mistakenly gets delivered to his apartment. His attempt to get the package to Harold begins a chain of events that encompasses a quest for the last perfect Christmas tree, an internet virgin, her Ukrainian mobster poppa, the must have holiday toy- the Wafflebot, and good ole’ Saint Nick himself. And could there be a Harold and Kumar epic without some quality time spent with the great NPH-Neil Patrick Harris?

After the glut of 3D flicks this year it was great to see a movie having fun with and poking fun at the format. The producers knew to really slow down the objects coming toward the viewer. This may be the most entertaining use of the technology since last year’s PIRANHA 3D or JACKASS 3D. The film makers are also having fun with the trappings of the Christmas movies with the gaudy decorations, tacky musical numbers, goofy Santa, and that crazy waffle-making droid. Hey, there’s even a great homage to Bob Clark’s A CHRISTMAS STORY. Cho and  Penn are in fine form ( there are in-jokes about the actors’ jobs since the last H & K outing ), and they’ve got some terrific comedic backup players. Trejo is funny and frightening ( can you imagine having Machete for a father-in-law? ). Elias Koteas also brings the brutality in his mob kingpin role. Before they re-unite our heroes have both made new best buds. Thomas Lennon scores big laughs as Harold’s wimpy, eager to please, single dad neighbor who tries to protect his toddler daughter from the chaos. And Kumar’s next door neighbor pal is the nerdy sex-crazed Adrian played by the manic Amir Blumenfeld. But of all these great performers, the movie’s MVP is once again NPH. This time we’re treated to his exceptional musical skills before we get another visit with the maniacal horndog of the previous films. He doesn’t appear till after the midway point, but it is so worth the wait. Sure the film’s crude, lewd, and politically incorrect, but unlike several recent R-rated comedies ( looking at you again CHANGE -UP!) this doesn’t have a cruel, mean bent to it. Well, maybe in the clay-animated sequence, but ,hey it’s just a big dream. If you’re in the mood for some raunch with your reindeer then this is your perfect stocking stuffer ( if the boys didn’t already stash their herbs there )!

Overall Rating: Four and a Half Out of Five Stars

Jim Batts was a contestant on the movie edition of TV's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2009 and has been a member of the St. Louis Film Critics organization since 2013.

1 Comment

  1. jennie

    November 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    So Funny !!!!

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