FILM REVIEW: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (18)

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Three years after Harold and Kumar escaped Guantanamo Bay, the stoner buddies deck the halls with illegal substances in this loud, brash and outlandish escapade directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.

Christmas is the season of giving so A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas gifts us a familiar array of mishaps, potty-mouthed outbursts and gross-out moments wrapped in festive cheer.

Screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg are neither big nor clever, subjecting a baby to nose candy for the sake of a giggle, but for every two or three gags that miss the mark, one hits the sweet spot.

When a Ukranian mob boss and his goons spray bullets into a house party awash with drugs, sending plumes of cocaine into the air, the soundtrack bursts to life with Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.

And a fictional kitchenware product called the Wafflebot, which serves up perfectly cooked dough cakes slathered in molten syrup, is surely destined for the high street one day, despite the obvious health and safety concerns with the film’s comical prototype.

Harold (John Cho) has lost touch with his buddy Kumar (Kal Penn) and has turned his life around by ditching the reefers, clambering up the corporate ladder and marrying Maria (Paula Garces).

Their attempts to get her pregnant on Christmas Eve are interrupted by the arrival of Maria’s father Carlos (Danny Trejo) and the entire Perez clan carrying a 12-foot Douglas fir tree that the formidable patriarch has been growing for the past eight years.

Fate conspires to reunite the estranged buddies and a spark from Kumar’s discarded marijuana joint sets the beloved Christmas tree alight.

Determined to impress Carlos, Harold heads into the night in search of a replacement fir with Kumar, buddy Todd (Thomas Lennon), teenager Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld) and Todd’s infant daughter in tow.

As midnight approaches, when the Perezs are due to return from Christmas mass, they cross paths with an old acquaintance, actor Neil Patrick Harris (playing himself), who might be able to solve the tree dilemma.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is another hit-or-miss instalment of the comedy series, which would have surely stumbled straight on to DVD were it not for the pointless use of 3D.

The only time the eye-popping format impresses is during a deranged and imaginative claymation sequence, induced by a batch of drugged eggnog.

Penn and Cho revisit their roles without breaking a sweat and, once again, Harris steals every frame, sending himself up with tongue wedged firmly in cheek, including a priceless running joke about his sexuality.

Belly laughs are tempered by sharp winces of pain, such as when Harold gets an appendage stuck to an icy metal pole and Kumar opts to warm up the painful situation with hot coffee.

Ouch!

By Damon Smith

:: SWEARING :: NO SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 5/10

Released: December 9 (UK & Ireland), 89 mins