Tuesday 23 January 2018

Review: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

* * *
(18, general release)

Paul Whitington

The problem with most so-called 'stoner' movies is that being high is essentially a non-communicable experience: the person who's smoking the pot or sniffing the coke might be having a fantastic time, but are a complete bore to everyone they encounter.

But gross and vulgar as they undoubtedly are, I have a sneaking affection for Harold and Kumar: there's something genuinely subversive about their comedy and, in this third outing, they tilt their lance at Christmas.

As the film opens, the pair haven't seen each other in a few years, and while Kumar (Kal Penn) is still a pot-obsessed slacker, Harold (John Cho) has got his act together, become a successful banker and married a beautiful Mexican girl.

But when Kumar accidentally re-enters Harold's life, they end up embarking on a quixotic and disastrous search for the perfect Christmas tree.

The comedy is pretty crude, but Cho and Penn have a winning charm that somehow makes it all work, and there are some very funny sight gags at the expense of 3D conventions.

Elias Koteas has fun as a deranged Russian mobster, and Danny Trejo is Harold's scary father-in-law, but Neil Patrick Harris steals the show playing a sleazy, drug-crazed version of himself.

This third Harold and Kumar film is full of knowing in-jokes, and Harris's parting line is "see you in the fourth one".

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