The generally stoned title characters return in a series of nonsensical-to-surreal comic set-pieces designed to subvert or outright demolish any vestige of good taste and offend anyone within range of the screen. The secret is that Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are so likable and the whole enterprise is so goofy that it’s really hard to be offended. I enjoyed their first movie. The second, not so much. This one is nearer the quality of the first. When it opens, Harold has become successful working for an investment firm, is married to Maria (Paula Garces), and has a nice house. Kumar, on the other hand, is living in the old apartment and pretty much perpetually stoned. His entire raison d’etre seems to be summed up when he says that he can’t go to a party because, “I’ve got to stay here and smoke this weed, or I won’t get high.” That — and the disasters that always follow in his wake — is why Harold has stopped associating with him. That all changes when a mysterious Christmas package for Harold gets delivered to Kumar and Kumar decides to take it to him. This sets off a chain of events that results in Harold’s daunting, Korean-hating father-in-law’s (Danny Trejo) perfect Christmas tree burning down. The only hope is to replace it before the family returns from midnight mass —and the search for that replacement is what sets the rest of the film in motion. I won’t detail the plot, but I will say that it includes a baby high on cocaine, a murderous Ukrainian gang boss (Elias Koteas), naked lesbian nuns, and, of course, the inevitable resurrection of Neil Patrick Harris as the series’ obnoxiously aggressive heterosexual version of himself. What is most shocking is that the outrages are geared to exactly the same thing as any family-friendly Christmas yarn: providing life lessons for the main characters. Disney never said it any better, though for whatever reason, Disney never thought to shoot Santa in the face or have anyone’s penis get stuck to a cold flagpole.
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Writer: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Producer: Greg Shapiro
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Elias Koteas, Danny Trejo, Danneel Ackles, John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garcés, Thomas Lennon, Patton Oswalt and Eddie Kaye Thomas
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas