I am willing to open my heart to holiday movies, because I love watching people in comfy sweaters talk about their feelings while trudging through snow. It's a tired genre though; very few movies deviate from the feel-good formula established all the way back when you could still say "Merry Christmas" without getting run over by an SUV. Lucky for us, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas is here to break all the holiday rules while still staying true to its dumb stoner roots. It's a movie that celebrates Christmas like Die Hard did, swapping a guy named Hans for one named Neil, and with a baby under the influence of cocaine.
The first movie in the series, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, never made any apologies for how dumb it was, and I learned that you can't ride atop a stoned cheetah without winning my heart. Although the second film fell victim to Sequelitis Repetitiva (like The Hangover II), it still worked okay because the bits are just plain funny. This latest film replaces the bad taste in my mouth left there since 2008 because it allowed the characters to do something other than hitchhike and get thrown in jail without getting "serious." Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) have grown apart, and are reunited by a mysterious joint sent to Harold at the old apartment he shared with Kumar. He has a big fancy life with Maria now, and the two BFFs are having trouble getting back into the groove of yesteryear. Cue a disaster, then a car accident, and an adventure gone horribly awry. This time, the addition of tinsel and a baby who keeps ingesting drugs breathes new life into the trilogy.
Some people think that holiday films should be filled with eggnog, smiles and Steve Guttenberg. When we're being honest, we all know that's the fake holiday we're all having in our heads and that real holidays are filled with more venom than Fred Phelps at Drag Bingo. Although the previous two movies are no stranger to making light of stereotypes, this film's script is offensive on steroids. No group is safe from the anti-PC stylings of screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. Gangsters, Mexicans, stock brokers, lame white guys, teenagers, sluts, priests, and even Santa are all under fire, and it's delightful. Even the 3D gets a nice kick in the teeth and makes putting those glasses on a little less painful than usual.
One thing elevates this entire movie to instant inappropriate Christmas classic, and that's Neil Patrick Harris. Everyone is familiar with NPH's tough-as-nails and funny-as-a-whoopee-cushion personality, especially when it comes to talking about himself. Harold and Kumar 3D allows him to burst at the seams with cheekiness, and his segment of the film is definitely the best part. He lights up the screen brighter than Clark Griswold's house in Christmas Vacation. Isn't it time we give him an entire two hours to entertain us instead of cinematic subplots or 22 minutes on television? That would be the best Christmas gift ever.