Little dumber boys
With Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Danny Trejo, Tom Lennon; Running Time: 90 minutes; Written by Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg; Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson; Rated R (for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence)
Just like the flu, 21st century stoner icons Harold and Kumar keep coming back. We’re told it’s a breakthrough that these popular moronic characters are both Asian-American, but it seems a dubious distinction at best. It’s hard to imagine parents of any ethnic, racial or religious group looking at these films and considering them something to which their own children might aspire.
When their third outing, A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS, opens the two friends have not seen each other in some time. Harold (John Cho) is now a successful Wall Street banker with a beautiful wife (Paula Garcés), while Kumar (Kal Penn) lives in a rundown apartment and focuses mostly on getting high. One day, a package addressed to Harold is left at Kumar’s door, and he has to go out to suburbs to deliver it.
Thus begins a Christmas Eve adventure which will force the two friends to join forces to replace the beautiful homegrown Christmas tree that Maria’s imposing father (Danny Trejo) has brought to their home. See, Kumar has sparked up a doobie which, improbably, leads to the tree being set on fire. Along the way they will deal with Christmas tree salesmen from the ‘hood, Ukrainian mobsters, a pot smoking Santa Claus, showering nuns, a Jewish convert to Christianity who makes fun of Jews, a party animal Jesus, a baby which ends up on pot, cocaine, and Ecstasy, and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris.
Harris’s appearance is the running joke of the series where the actor plays a character who is supposed to be the real Harris. Here it is “revealed” that his being gay is all a put on so he can more easily hit on chicks. The supposed hilarity never stops. Indeed, the only reason not to be offended by the parade of lame stereotypes in the film is that it’s clear they’re going after everyone, and the goal is merely to shock with crude humor. Unfortunately, unless you’re drunk or stoned yourself, none of this is especially funny.
It says something that the most developed character in the movie is something called “Wafflebot,” supposedly the hot toy of the holiday season. It’s a robot that makes and serves perfect waffles, hates pancakes, and takes a definite shine to Kumar. Can a Wafflebot spinoff movie be that far away?
“A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” does for Christmas what Adam Sandler’s abominable “Eight Crazy Nights” did for Chanukah. Teenagers who are newly discovering “Beavis and Butthead” will find this uproariously funny. Look, someone threw poop at a car! Look, the Christ’s two women friends are both topless! Look what part of his anatomy Harold gets stuck to a frozen pole! In other words, this movie will makes a lot of money, once again proving the wisdom of H. L. Mencken that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being Jar Jar Binks Must Die… And Other Observations About Science Fiction Movies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville.