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A Very Harold

by

Jeff Nelson

Fans, whether it be casual or hardcore, will have an enjoyable time with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
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By the time that movie franchises start having holiday-themed entries, it generally means that the series has seriously gone downhill. I personally see it as the screenwriters have run out of ideas and that's the best that they can come up with. When A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was announced, I was worried of just that. I enjoyed the first entry and even thought the sequel had some good laughs. However, I was worried what exactly would become of Harold and Kumar in this Christmas-themed sequel. If that wasn't gimmicky enough, they just had to put it in the largest gimmick to be provided to the filmmaking industry, also known as 3D. I waited for the Blu-ray to be available for rental on Netflix and opted for the 2D disc since I don't, and never will have, a 3D set-up. Even watching this in two-dimensions, it's quite obvious that this was filmed with the 3D in mind. Is it strong enough to please fans of the first two entries of the series?

When Kumar burns down Harold's family Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, the stoner pals set out on a last minute, pot-fueled quest through Manhattan to find a replacement tree, getting tangled up with mobsters and other shady characters along the way. Fortunately, those who were worried about A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas being more tame have absolutely nothing to be worried about. In fact, the offensive jokes are nonstop. So, if you're easily offended, this should be a major red flag to steer clear of this, along with the other two entries in the series. As always, the adventures of Harold and Kumar soon turns from crazy to insane as they run into characters such as Santa Clause and even Neil Patrick Harris, who was killed in the previous entry. Between the three films, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas displays the softer side of the two characters much more than the others. The relationship between the two best friends is a bit more explored here. Despite the fact that I laughed constantly throughout the first movie and even at times during the sequel, I didn't find myself laughing nearly as often here. Don't get me wrong, the motion picture most certainly has its moments where it's laugh-out-loud funny, but there aren't a lot of those sequences. I would have liked to see Neil Patrick Harris more involved in the story than he is. He was hilarious in the past and the character remains to be just as funny. However, by the time you're really enjoying his stay, he's no longer on screen and we don't see him again for the remainder of the running time. The writing is a little less than you would expect from a Harold and Kumar movie. It's still funny, no doubt, but not near as hilarious as I remember the other movies being. However, but the end of the movie, you're guaranteed to want to own your very own WaffleBot. I thought that WaffleBot was a very nice touch put on by the writers.

Fans of the duo will be pleased to know that when you're watching them together on screen again, it feels like no time has passed since Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Kal Penn and John Cho are back to play Kumar and Harold. Both actors aid in showing the softer side of the characters. Penn and Cho are believable in the roles and have brought back everything in the characters that fans loved about the past two entries. I surely wouldn't mind seeing these two actors collaborating more often on some other projects. Even with a script that doesn't generate as much laughter as I hoped, they're able to bring some of the comedy in through expressions and reactions. Neil Patrick Harris performs as himself here and he's damn good at it! Again, I would have liked to see him have a bigger role in the movie, although he's very funny for the short time that he makes an appearance. This is ultimately a successful cast in which fans will be proud of since they returned for another sequel.

As I mentioned, this movie is intended to be seen in 3D. Hell, even the title of the movie tells us this. The full title is A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. However, I only see movies in 3D when it's either the only option or if it's truly receiving a lot of positive buzz for the 3D. In this case, I figured I could just wait until it hit Blu-ray to catch it in 2D. Even watching it this way, it's clear that it was intended for the extra dimension. There are a lot of scenes where things fly out towards the television screen in such a cheesy, yet so obviously intended, fashion. I'm sure that there are a lot pop outs to have been had, but I didn't have a problem missing out on that. It simply makes the 3D pop outs look a lot more silly when not seen with that technology. When it comes to the audio department, it's a little bit of a letdown if you're interested in watching the extended cut. The theatrical version sounds absolutely fantastic. The dialogue is clear while the rear speakers are aggressive in keeping the audience fully immersed. The subwoofer kicks in when it needs to, and when it does, it's clean and tight. However if you're watching the extended cut, we're only provided with a Dolby Digital mix instead of a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The difference between the two tracks is huge. The sound is much more tiny and less accurate than the track of the theatrical version.

It felt weird watching a Christmas movie in spring, but I still had the urge to check this out. Fans of Harold and Kumar are guaranteed to have fun no matter what anybody says as this follows in the footsteps of the first two movies when it comes to the crudeness. However, it simply isn't as funny as they are. There are portions of A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas where I laughed out loud, but it didn't happen very many times. If you weren't a fan of the original or the sequel then you are guaranteed to have the same feelings, or worse, towards this Christmas-themed sequel. Fans of the series should still have a good time with this one even though it isn't as funny as some had hoped. Fortunately, it hasn't fully lost its touch, as many holiday-themed entires of franchises have. With the theatrical version, Warner Bros has presented us with an impressive audio track. However, the same cannot be same for the extended cut. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as fans were hoping, but it's still an enjoyable movie. If you're easily offended, it's a no-brainer to avoid this at all costs. However, fans, whether it be casual or hardcore, will have an enjoyable time.

My Rating = Three Stars

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