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Directed by - Todd Strauss-schulson
Running time - 90 Mins
Classification - 18
IMDB Rating - 6.3/10
My rating - 8/10
I have heard of Harold and Kumar before, but for some reason watching them had never really appeared to me, but because it was on the sky 3D channel I recorded it, as there is never enough films on there and I like to watch 3D films.
I did not really know what the film would be about, apart from that it was to do with Christmas. But a package is sent to Kumar s house which is for Harold, so even though he has not seen Harold for ages, as Harold is all settled down with a partner and big new house. Harold has the job of trying to impress his girlfriends father. Which he is finding quite a hard task as nothing is ever good enough for his little girl. After he has brought his own grown tree for miles for his daughter Maria, they leave Harold in charge of the house, and the job of decorating and looking after the tree.
Harold knows when Kumar turns up that something always goes wrong. Against his better judgement, he lets him in his house, so he can open the resent sent to Kumar s house. Which contains a big fat joint. But Harold is not interested in this as he does not touch the stuff no more. But Kumar is very interested and lights it up, Harold goes mad as there is no smoking in the house and he chucks it out of the window. But a freak gust of wind blows it back in and sets the tree on fire.
The tree is totally ruined and Harold panics as Maria's dad had been growing that years before bringing it to their house. So he has to go out and try to find a tree that looked just like that one, they pass many adventures on the way and get into some mischief but I will not tell you as it will then spoil the film, but will they manage to replace the tree, so that he is not in Maria's dads bad books.
Kal Penn plays Kumar and I thought he did a good job playing his character but to be fair they have done a few films already so they are used to acting with each other, but still I do think that he played his part well.
John Cho plays Harold and he yet again plays his art really well, the two actors do seem to work really well together, and I think it made the film that little bit better.
There was a few other actors in the film, but these are the main two in it, but they all did really well as a team and made the film better because they acted great.
Well this was not the sort of film I expected, although I am not sure what I did expect. I will say now that the 3D on this film was really great, I mean when they were smoking it was just like you was in the room with them, with a cloud of smoke round you. So they did brilliantly with the 3D side.
I did enjoy the storyline of the film, it was based a lot round drugs, which I did not know to start so some people might not like this sort of film, but they made it funny and it made me want to keep watching it. I never thought I would laugh about some of the stuff that was on that film but I did. I would recommend this to anyone for at least a watch, but be warned some scenes some may find disturbing. But overall I found it a good film to watch.
Star - Harold & Kumar!
Genre - Comedy
Run Time - 90 minutes
Certificate - R18
Country - USA
Blockbuster Rental- £1.49 per night
Amazon -£8.64DVD (£12.00 Blue Ray)
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So the boys are back for their third installment, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Karl Penn) one of the most original comedy duos for many a year in Hollywood, back in shameless 3D style here. They are interesting and intelligent characters too; Penn currently working in The Whitehouse in The Office of Public Engagement for Obama's team whilst John Cho was originally a teacher in West Hollywood and a graduate of Berkley University. You can tell from their work they are smart guys on a mission to have fun with their ethnicity and highlight the subtle racism they suffer in America, not only Black and Latinos on the end of it. The fourth installment will be Harold & Kumar get 'Droned', not letting up on the tongue-in-cheek satire that makes their stuff that bit more enjoyable than anything else that's supposed to be funny in America. Cho, of course, plays Sulu in the new Star Trek movies
John Cho as Harold Lee
Kal Penn as Kumar Patel
Neil Patrick Harris as "Neil Patrick Harris"
Danny Trejo as Mr. Perez
Danneel Harris as Vanessa Fanning
Elias Koteas as Sergei Katsov
Paula Garcés as Maria Perez-Lee
Thomas Lennon as Todd
Patton Oswalt as Larry Juston/Mall Santa
Eddie Kaye Thomas as Andy Rosenberg
David Krumholtz as Seth Goldstein
=== The Plot===
Harold (John Cho) has a great job and house and six years married to sexy Maria Perez-Lee
(Paula Garcés) from the previous two films. Harold wants to impress Maria's fearsome father (Danny Trejo), who has pitched up on Christmas Eve with most of the extended family. But dad is not happy with the plastic tree and has bought his own traditional Mexican fir, Harold offering to decorate it whilst the family goes to midnight mass with Maria. Harold is Korean after all and so not his God.
Stoner Kumar hasn't seen his best friend Harold for six long years, still smoking his life away with girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) in his dirty apartment. But when Kumar gets a surprise Christmas present on his doorstep from Harold he ends up at his house, just in time, as it happens, to help him with the tree, which he quickly sets on fire with a joint, of course, meaning they have to throw it through a glass window to save the house. Now they have no revered family Christmas tree and just two hours to find another or Harold is going to have to face Maria's angry pop, no doubt armed with at least a machete.
Harold kicks Kumar out of his house as he is nothing but trouble, heading out with his new best friend Todd (Thomas Lennon) to buy a replacement 12ft tree, hard to find this late in the day. Kumar, hurt by his own incompetence and upsetting his old friend, calls up his new best friend Seth (David Krumholtz) to also head out and buy a new tree before midnight. So throw in a wild party, lots of weed, a needy virgin and a Russian mobster, and a car crash or two and it's yet another late night with Harold and Kumar on the town as the clock ticks.
Although the humor is patchy, when the laughs hit they are proficient to deliver an entertaining movie. Cho and Penn continue to be a likable pair together and bounce off each other and its fun to spend time with them. Some have said they are a young Cheech and Chong (ask your dad) but the Harold and Kumar humor, although stoner silly, is spiked with knowing sharper material on race and the state of modern day America and so very much an updated pairing. There were no recognizable Hollywood comedies involving two Asian American leads until these two came along and so that means they have a smorgasbord of jokes to pick from.
Film one was the best of the three for me, the original always the best in Hollywood, and I would put this one just ahead of film two, Harold & Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay, which was the boys pop at Americas War on Terror racial stereotyping. This one more is more in the traditional Christmas comedy camp as they send up the genre and be very silly and dumb, seriously exploiting the 3D element for cheap laughs. There are some good giggles to be had but I enjoy this stuff just for its freshness of the lead Asian characters chemistry and the lick of sly cleverness about it. Nobody else is doing what they are doing.
It did a decent $35 million back from its $19 million budget and not just a film for the hardcore fans of these 'stoners'. You will laugh as you wont have heard their style of humor before and much quieter on the ear than the knowing and obnoxious Judd Apatow thing for me. They are just likeable comics confronting and prodding everyday subtle racism in America and that works on film. Critics say the joke is wearing thin but I say it's a joke there should be more of, too many American comedies simply box ticking exercise to secure funding and a safe profit. There are 17 million Asians in America and they deserve to laugh to.
Imdb.com - 6.3/10.0 (40,324votes)
Metacrtic.com - 61% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 69% critic's approval
-Behind the Camera-
Behind the scenes stuff with the likable cast and crew.chopped into three parts for some reason.
-Audio Commentary -
Director and cast mess around with an enjoyable layered track.
Daily Telegraph -'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas's slacker posturing belies a rare comedic rigor. It takes brains to be this thick'.
Time Out -'For all its pretensions to bad taste, this is surprisingly heartwarming festive fare'.
Deadspin Magazine-'I was glad to see them again, but it's probably time for them to go get their lives fully together now'.
The Sun -'While there's no mistaking a Harold & Kumar movie for something that's going win an Oscar, movie fans shouldn't be so quick to dismiss these 21st century incarnations of Cheech and Chong as purely shallow entertainment'.
Efilm critc.com -'What started as a beautiful one-off, extended in a pretty decent sequel, has now grown gray at the edges'.
Newsbalze -'A raunchy and religiously-incorrect roller coaster ride for the very-open minded, not to be mistaken for one of those sentimental Christmas yarns'
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It's that time of year again, when most of our days are concerned with what's going to be happening in a months time. There are presents to buy, foodstuffs to stock in, parties to attend and members of the family to invite. There will be socialising, drinking, music and merriment and full bellies. One of my favourite things about this time of year, regular readers of my reviews will not be surprised to find out, is the movies. Whether it's catching them on television or making sure you've got your favourites on DVD (or Blu-ray, of course) to enjoy, everyone has their list of films to watch at Christmas time. Whether you prefer the Christmassy ones (like It's a Wonderful Life and Jingle All the Way), or the alternative Christmassy choices (like Die Hard), or just the ones that tend to get shown around Christmas (like The Great Escape or, more recently, the Harry Potter films), most people will have their little film-watching habits over the festive period. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I've made a bit of a tradition now of watching Moulin Rouge on Christmas Eve. Well, there's a new contender for the Christmas tradition. It won't be to everyone's taste, but A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is undoubtedly destined to be added to the lists of teenagers and stoners everywhere for years to come. And, why on Earth not?
After several years without seeing each other, Harold and Kumar's lives have become very different from each other's. Kumar, played by Kal Penn, is exactly the same as he used to be, if not worse. After being dumped by Vanessa (whom he met during their Escape from Guantanamo Bay adventure), he has been down in the dumps, not tidying his apartment, growing a beard out of laziness and, of course, getting constantly high. On the other hand, Harold, played by John Cho, has cleaned himself up - with a beautiful wife and a high-flying job, he hasn't smoked weed in years now and has no intention of going back. When a parcel arrives on Kumar's doorstep, addressed to Harold, he has every intention of dropping it off on his doorstep and not disturbing his old friend. Caught in the act, however, Kumar uncontrollably brings his troublesome influence back into Harold's life when a prized Christmas tree is set on fire and the estranged stoners must reunite to venture through the city in search of a replacement. With mob bosses soon on their tail and a spell of musical theatre to stumble into, can Harold and Kumar find the perfect replacement tree? Can they rekindle their friendship? And, when is Neil Patrick Harris going to show up?
The two predecessors to this film were great fun, but they were very much targeted at an audience willing to put up with a massive amount of silliness, profanity, nudity, drug use and toilet humour. So if that's not your kind of thing, then this certainly isn't for you - and don't let your children anywhere near it, by the way! A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is more of the same, just not made quite as slickly as the previous episodes in this series of guilty pleasures. The best moments tend to come when their past adventures are referenced, but those references come thick and fast in the main, so there's plenty to be enjoyed. There are some new jokes, for instance the toddler who inadvertently becomes addicted to hard drugs in a matter of hours and the mysterious figure that Harold accidentally shoots out of the sky. There's a wonderful moment right at the start, referencing the blatant product placement that all three films have depended on so far. The return of Neil Patrick Harris is a delight, as ever. He's so likable at the best of times that it's great fun to see him being foul-mouthed and dirty in these movies. In any franchise, beyond the main stars, there's often someone who it wouldn't be the same without, and Harris is that element here.
It's not all fun and merriment, by any means. All the crassness can get a bit wearing, so it needs to be consistently brilliant to keep you entertained. In this case, it is not. Many jokes, if they don't fall flat on their face, tend to raise little more than a smile and the story is the weakest of the three so far. Of course, the story is not overly important when the main attraction is the silliness, but the arcs can be so daft at times that they are groan-inducing. Obviously Penn and Cho get the best of the amusing moments, leaving very little for the rest of the cast to pick at. Amir Blumenfeld and Thomas Lennon share some decent exchanges, particularly when they are trapped in a closet hiding from Elias Koteas' violent mob boss. But so much of the comedy seems forced and predictable that it drags everything else down around it, especially in the case of the Wafflebot's inevitable desire to protect its new owners. Of course, all this could be pushed aside in exchange for just sitting back and enjoying the ride, but any great, or even really good, comedy needs to have the characters and/or story to make it so. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas has neither, and that is the main area in which it falters.
There really is plenty to giggle at, though, as long as this is your kind of thing. It's possibly better watched in groups of like-minded individuals, where the grossest moments can be gurned at and laughing out loud is encouraged. "That is so wrong" will no doubt be the catchphrase of the night, so be warned. This won't end up on many lists of mandatory Christmas viewings, but it will have its following and those followers will be quoting it for many Christmases to come. With very few gross-out comedies managing to be quite as likeable as this series always is, there's no doubt there will be more in the future. I'd like to say they will improve in later episodes, but that's unlikely now - much more likely is that we'll get more of the same. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is down to the individual, but this reviewer will certainly be watching out for the next adventure. It's not big, it's not clever, but it certainly is fun.