It took a while for me to catch up with the original HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE on DVD, but when I did, I found it reasonably engaging and amusing. It took me even longer to catch up with GUANTANAMO BAY--my wife had seen and liked it, so I finally ordered it "on demand" to prepare for the third entry--it tried a bit too hard to be raunchy and shocking, but there were still some good "shooting down stereotypes" sequences, I guess... it wasn't completely awful.
I'm still not sure why I even wanted to see this third entry. Possibly the genuine 3D, possibly just a chance to take my wife to the movies... but now that I've seen it, I'm still wondering why I did.
Naturally, the trailers didn't drop the hint that this film would actually try to move into "maturity" mode with themes of impending parenthood--hey, at NO point in the series did I warm to the characters to such a degree that I wanted to "grow up" with them... danger, Will Robinson!
But that's not the real problem here. The problem with A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS is that it's an appallingly lazy rehash of many better things that have gone on before. If I were to describe the initial setup, you'd think I was talking about MEET THE PARENTS, plain and simple. Harold wants to impress his new in-laws (led by the imposing Danny Trejo) but a Kumar-inspired misadventure causes Danny's precious Christmas tree to be torched (yeah, just like Owen Wilson's precious wood carving), so he has to spend the night on an unwilling adventure with his estranged buddy trying to find a replacement for the tree before he gets busted.
Oh, and both Harold and Kumar have new "besties," so we have two new characters to play with... one's looking forward to deflowering an obliging young lady (think things are going to be that simple?), and one's trying to protect his baby daughter from this and that... okay, when the baby gets stoned off what Kumar's smoking, it's good for a tasteless chuckle, but when the baby gets a faceful of cocaine shortly afterwards, one realizes that the idea well has already run dry less than halfway through the movie--besides, it really isn't all that funny, is it?
Wafflebot? Not nearly as funny as the Talkie Toaster in RED DWARF.
The 3D? Okay, it's well-executed, but it's mainly there so the characters can make jokes about 3D (and you saw the best one in the trailer already--"Who are you looking at?"). Honestly, you'd get pretty much the same effect watching the film flat. Okay, except for Kumar's enhanced Claymation "appendage."
Fine. I'll concede the Claymation sequence. That was easily the highlight of the movie, from the nasty visuals to the jolly song playing in the background. In fact, I wish they'd expanded it to a full-length (half-hour) Christmas special, sent it straight to DVD and scrapped the rest of the movie.
Oh, I'll also give it the obligatory Neil Patrick Harris sequence. For once, they did NOT give the funniest part away in the trailer (and the Heaven sequence was far more visually appealing in the release version than in the trailer version, if you take my meaning). But when Neil said "See you in the fourth one," I still said "Please, no" out loud. (It didn't matter--my wife and I were two of only four people in the theatre.)
Don't bother waiting through the end credits for a final gag like I did--there isn't one.
A few scattered laughs and two legitimately good sequences don't make this worth paying to see. I left the theatre wondering what I ever saw in this series to begin with.
As in not off. If you want to post about mainstream flicks, this is the forum.
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