Film Review: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 9 Dec 2011

The film which star Kal Penn had to take a leave of absence from his role in the Obama administration for is quite the dumbing down for the talented, and apparently clever, actor.

Set a few years on from their last adventure, Penn jumps back into role of Kumar Patel, medical student dropout and massive stoner, though buddy Harold (Cho) seems to have matured. Now married and trying for a baby, Harold lives own a glorious house in the suburbs and has made a name for himself as an investment banker.

But it was only a matter of time before they were thrown back into each other’s lives, and when a package for Harold is mistakenly sent to Kumar’s address, it isn’t long before mishap finds them too.

After inadvertently setting fire to Harold’s Christmas tree, what should have been a flyby hello turns into an evening of mayhem, as the pair are flung into a city-wide mission to replace the charred decorations, crashing a mobster’s daughter’s house party, getting drugged on spiked eggnog and becoming back-up dancers in a Christmas musical.

If you’ve seen any of the previous Harold & Kumars, you’d be foolish not to expect another silly 90 minutes of slapstick and stoner comedy, so how ridiculous the film is at times isn’t a problem, how devoid of laughs it proves to be, however, certainly is. The dialogue isn’t snappy while the physical comedy is predictable; A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is lowest common denominator humour, without the wit or great timing to convert.

Kal Penn and John Cho have matured into solid actors now and really see their talents wasted with such a laboured script. The film is inoffensive but perhaps that’s part of the problem, the characters don’t really have an edge any more and there isn’t anything that pushes the boundaries.

Making his signature cameo, Neil Patrick Harris is the best thing about the movie; his charisma, the in-jokes and fun had with his fictionalised persona easily steal the show. Thomas Lennon too, as Harold’s pandering assistant, is more entertaining than the central duo too.

Billed within the movie’s full title, 3D throughout is a needless gimmick with random objects flying out of the screen that will look utterly ridiculous  when shown in 2D, though all in all, it’s a very disappointing production. Hopefully the lead duo now forget their stoner pals and move onto bigger and better things in the future.


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