'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas': What the Critics Are Saying

9:13 AM PST 11/04/2011 by THR Staff
Darren Michaels/New Line Productions Inc.

One wrote that the "film’s success really comes down to Kal Penn and John Cho" while another argued that the "series has run out of steam."

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, the third installment in the stoner buddy comedy franchise, attempts to combine their recreational drug use shtick with the most wonderful time of the year. Does it succeed? Critics have had mixed reactions to the film, with many saying the franchise has run its course and it's time to retire it.

In the Warner Bros. film, Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) have found new B.F.F.s. and are preparing to spend the upcoming holidays with them, when, through a series of mishaps, the duo is reunited to hunt down a Christmas tree.

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Many critics mentioned that one of the most shocking scenes in the film -- which opens in theaters on Nov. 4 -- involved a baby and a powdery white drug. Critics were also quick to compare this film to its predecessors, and many pointed out that it didn’t live up to the first installment, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, but was as good or better than the second, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

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“The film’s success really comes down to Kal Penn and John Cho and the almost endearing, idiotic characters they have created over these three films,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is, like its predecessors, a mildly diverting naughty comedy, lacking the pure comic nastiness of Bad Santa or the sheer audacity of Up in Smoke,” he added.

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“While not as funny as the original, 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, it's still a modest improvement over the 2008 sequel, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," wrote Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post. “And by ‘improvement,’ I mean that the humor is even more wildly inappropriate,” he added.

“This third film in the Harold & Kumar franchise is inordinately jacked up with visual effects and peppy holiday music, but nothing can disguise the fact that this series has run out of steam, that the film's stars have outgrown the roles that made them famous,” wrote the AP’s Christy Lemire.

“Much of the humor comes from the same tired, repetitive stoner shtick,” she added.

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 “The film’s director, Todd Strauss-Schulson, takes aggressive advantage of the 3-D format, sending all sorts of things shooting out at the audience: syrup, snow, streamers, a hat and lots of wacky-weed smoke,” wrote Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times.

“If the sight of a baby covered in powdered cocaine offends you, you are an idiot for having gone to a Harold and Kumar movie,” added Genzlinger.

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