A Very Harold & Kumar 3 D Christmas (2011)

Rated R. Our Ratings: V-4 ;L -5 ; S/N –1. Running time: 1 hour 30 min

But when he came to himself…
Luke 15:17a

Our goofy, inept heroes even wind up as part of a Christmas revue In Holiday their misadventures.
© 2011 New Line Cinema

I enjoyed the first Harold and Kumar tale because its two ethnic slackers were so clueless that they thought eating at a White Castle was a gourmet experience worth a lot of .htmlorth a lot of effort to bring about. With each additional film the vulgar humor, sex, and drug affirmation have made it impossible to recommend the series for church groups. The latest adventure makes this the least likely of them the three, so do not look for any discussion questions to follow this review—and yet I have to admit I found much to laugh at, as well as two tender scenes concerning love and commitment.

The story starts six years after the last film, with Harold and Kumar having drifted apart and forming new friendships. Indeed, Harold is now a Wall Street trader married to a Mexican woman who has a macho father very hostile to him. Kumar has split from his girlfriend because of his refusal to give up smoking weed. The misadventure begins on the day of Christmas Eve when Kumar travels to Harold’s suburban mansion to deliver a package he has received but has Harold’s name on it. It happens that Harold’s in-laws and his wife (so many that they arrived in a school bus) have left for Manhattan to attend an evening Mass, after the father-in-law has thrown out the family artificial Christmas tree and replaced it with a highly decorated spruce that took him 12 years to grow.

The package Kumar delivers contains weed, and of course he begins to smoke a joint right away. Harold snatches it and throws it out the window, but the wind blows most of it back, including the lit joint, and the precious tree catches fire. The pair set forth to the City to obtain a replacement, leading to a wild evening of drugs, chases, crashes, and even child endangerment—the latter involves an infant accidentally ingesting powdered drug and getting high. We are supposed to laugh at this, and perhaps wonder if that is how Kumar first became addicted.

Besides the unfunny involvement of an infant with drugs there is a sacrilegious incident involving Jesus and the Virgin Mary, as well as a funny yet outrageous parody of the tongue frozen onto a lamppost scene in A Christmas Story. This being a 3 D picture, I don’t think I have to name the organ that juts forth from the screen once it is removed from the lamppost.

The writers seem to have worked hard to top the previous two films by stuffing in as many ethnic jokes and outrageous drug usage and sex and nudity as possible, as well as deciding to climb onto the 3-D bandwagon. And yet there are the two scenes I mentioned in which there is a note of tenderness and insight. The first deals with the question of why Harold is going to all the trouble to placate his irritable father-in-law, and he replies that he is doing it for his wife, that the man is her father, and the tree is important to him and his daughter. I love her, and I am doing this, he says in effect, not because I have to, but because I want to! This moment, I thought, is similar to that of the prodigal son’s while feeding the pigs.

Later Kumar has a similar aha moment that leads to his reuniting with his girlfriend. Thus, in spite of some repulsive ingredients, you might enjoy this film, but only if prepared to overlook a lot. Still, I would prefer to watch again their more innocent and sweet White Castle tale. Let’s hope this film franchise has come to an end, making it an uneven trilogy.