As film critics, we’re constantly asked to defend our tastes. “What makes this good?” or “Why should I bother watching that?” Especially coming from a film school background, there’s this constant demand to defend your taste in movies as some sort of cinematic marvel. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is not that. It doesn’t claim to be a movie masterpiece or even take itself that seriously, but that is part of the unquestionable charm of A Very Harold & Kumar.
The third in the Harold & Kumar franchise starts off a little rocky. Where the first one was a stoner classic and the second one faltered with its not-so-veiled political aspirations, the two stoner pals had a difficult task ahead of them. Especially with the decision to set the film several years after the events of the second film, meaning Harold & Kumar are “grown-ups” now, the film struggles with presenting these two as the goof-off pals from the 2004 film.
Luckily, with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, the film regains some of its youthful jubilance. While A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas struggles to turn their two leads into adults, Harris (as himself) is as irreverent as ever. Harris reminds us of the raunchy fun that Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle gave us in 2004 and even though its not aging as gracefully as one would hope, it’s still got enough cheap laughs to satisfy an audience for its 90-some minute running time.
But easily one of the most amusing things about the movie is its recognition of the medium itself. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas may meander with its story, but it does the same with its film techniques in a playful manner. Even though this particular Blu-ray isn’t in 3D, the film’s unabashed mocking of the film technique holds up in all the right places. Still, the claymation sequence is easily one of the most amazing scenes that A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas has to offer. The child-like animation style mixed with claymation gore is one that won’t soon be forgotten.
Although the jokes in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas are hit-or-miss, the film does have something to offer its audience and that is pure, unadulterated fun. It is by no means anything new to the generic field of the “Christmas movie” but as a fan of the earlier entries into the Harold & Kumar franchise, I was happy to return to these characters. Even with some unwelcome changes, as our two stoner pals embrace adulthood, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas has fun with its material which makes for an entertaining experience for its audience.