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By Stephen Compall
Feb 08, 2012 11:57 AM EST

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas Blu-ray Review

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas Blu-ray Review
Purchase  Blu-ray | Digital HD
What I didn't expect of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas was to be genuinely laughing at one of the jokes early on.  In a blatant display of ubiquitous timeliness, of which most films these days may be accused, a protester was depicted below Harold's (John Cho, Star Trek, FlashForward) office window picketing with the catchy "Wall Street 2 sucks harder".

Much like that can be said of the opening act of the film overall.  We are reintroduced to the finely honed deadpan of Kumar (Kal Penn, 24, House M.D.), updated on the happenings since the franchise's previous film, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and firmly established among our new supporting cast.
But hey, it's a Sharp TV!  And, unfortunately, it seems that we are also firmly established in the new flavor of 3D gimmickry: making fun of 3D gimmickry.  Even as a 2D viewer, it's the most glaring anachronism of the film, as intentionally cheesy 3D was already passé when Arrested Development did it in 2006.  Even that wore out its welcome over one split-second scene, and here, we go back to that well repeatedly over the whole film.

About 15 minutes in, we hear the "plot music", telling us that the main plot has begun.  There's one more faultless scene, Harold and Kumar's first meeting in years, shot in the shade with a slightly incandescent filter to give the picture a markedly cool sheen.  They don't talk about much in particular, always a hallmark of the best scenes of dialogue in film.  Then, however, it's time to burn it all down, and roll through the rest of the movie in what can best be described as "shenanigans".

Kumar maintains his perpetually cool/oblivious demeanor throughout, but here he is bested by Todd (Thomas Lennon, Reno 911!, Party Down).  Despite his character's straightforward straight-man status, he manages to best Kumar in the deadpan olympics several times, at least while our main characters remain with their backup.

After a few scenes, though, the stars of the show find themselves on their own, casting off their best buds from the beginning of the film in favor of separate scenes.  I'm ambivalent about this.  On one hand, it works best for the film thematically—they've been using these new friends as crutches to replace the friendship with each other they've lost.  It cuts short, however, any further moments for Todd to shine.  On the other hand, we don't waste time with the other castoffs, and I would as much like to not mention them as forget them.
Overall, however, the remainder of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas should be treated as a sitcom, albeit one willing to subject its participants to rather extreme situations.  Some of these are fine, some best forgotten, particularly the final resolving scenes.

Among the less forgettable moments, though, would be Neil Patrick Harris's (himself, How I Met Your Mother, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) Christmas song medley.  Considered by many to be a cursory appearance at this point, I consider it the highlight of the main plot section of the film.  The screen time devoted to connecting the real NPH with his H&K character was quite extraordinary, and as if to earn it, he carried his medley past cheesy and back into smile territory.  But then again, I like it when sitcoms get schmaltzy.
 
Blu-ray extras:
  • An Extended Cut - The Blu-ray edition includes both a 96-minute extended cut and a 90-minute theatrical version. The extended cut only offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track.
  • Through the Haze with Tom Lennon (HD, 9 minutes
  • Behind The Scenes of Harold & Kumar's Christmas Claymation Sequence
  • Deleted Scenes
  • UltraVioletCopy - As per Warner Bros. now normal release process of the film an UltraViolet copy is included without an iTunes version leaving AppleTV and mac users without a digital option.
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MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
Distributed By: New Line Cinema

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About Stephen Compall

FlickDirect, Stephen  Compall

Ostensibly a programmer from faraway places, Stephen recognizes that making up your mind about movies and television is a simple matter of imposition in the form of review, and he who controls minds controls the world. No word yet on how that second part is progressing. After seeing many films, a few good, for FlickDirect, he returned to faraway places, but still checks in from time to time. Read more reviews and content by .

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