REVIEW: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) reunite as they cause holiday chaos by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.

After reading Kal Penn’s autobiography and then watching and very much enjoying Harold and Kumar go to White Castle I thought I might as well continue with series. None of the sequels live up to the heights of the first film with their Christmas film it felt more on track. While Harold and Kumar are best friends it’s easy to see how they could drift apart due to personality differences but equally it’s easy to see them come back together.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was originally released in 3D so watching at home without that aspect was still surprisingly enjoyable. The 3D is glaringly obvious – its peak early 2010s 3D but it also kind of has some charm to it. In other films where there’s been a 3D aspect it is kind of eye-roll-inducing but here because it’s so obvious and it even makes references to the fact that characters are doing something specifically to be seen in 3D by audiences, it just works in a way I wasn’t expecting.

Throughout all three films the chemistry between Kal Penn and John Cho has always been there and it’s nice to see them pay these characters as older versions but still capture the heart or the essence of the two of them and how they connect to one another. They are the kind of characters that are two sides of the same coin. They really do balance each other out and when they’re a part Harold is more uptight and stuffy while Kumar is left to being high and not working towards anything. When they’re together Harold is freer and Kumar has a bit more motivation.

Neil Patrick Harris once again makes an appearance in this film and how he does so is not what I was expecting but it was very funny and weird and it works.

I think A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas works especially well after having seen the previous two films as you seen these characters not necessarily grow but you understand they’re dynamic, but also it stands on its own as a surprisingly charming and sweet film about friends reconnecting at Christmas. It also has love and family and all those themes Christmas has while also featuring drugs, a baby getting high and characters getting injured in car accidents and a variety of other escapades. 3/5.

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