Amazon Prime Video film review: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Ivan Radford | On 28, Nov 2013
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
Watch A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas online in the UK: Amazon Prime / TalkTalk TV / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Harold (Cho) and Kumar (Penn) have drifted apart since they escaped from Guantanamo Bay. Kumar still gets high, even while his ex is telling him that she’s pregnant. Harold, meanwhile, is a successful businessman who’s more concerned with getting the Christmas tree right to please his scowling father-in-law (Danny Trejo).
One chance visit from Kumar later, and a joint has burned down the tree and ruined Christmas. And so the pair embark on a miscellaneous string of japes. Mostly involving drugs. And penises. And babies. And sex. And drugs. Did we mention the penises?
Oh yes, it’s A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas all right. This festive comedy chunders along with the odd giggle, mostly relying on childish sex jokes and – after being released in 3D in cinemas – cheap visual tricks. But it knows it. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson takes any opportunity to (literally) chuck everything he has at the camera, from hot dogs and bodily fluids to snowballs of cocaine. Usually in slow-motion.
Most of the dumb pranks (a baby high on crack, a Ukrainian gangster) simply aren’t funny. But just as the silliness starts to get old, Neil Patrick Harris turns up – playing himself. Addicted to crack and pretending to be gay, he has all the charm and wit of, well, Neil Patrick Harris. For the 10 minutes he’s on screen, this immature mess is hilarious.
Other ideas, such as a talking robot that makes waffles, are equally inspired – one claymation sequence is brilliant. (Although, inevitably, it involves a plasticine cock.)
Make no mistake: this is a lazy seasonal comedy that relies on John Cho and Kal Penn’s likeable bromance to make it all work. And yet when the final message arrives about getting high and putting up with your annoying friends, all the small bursts of imagination help A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas to somehow hit the seasonal sweet spot. In 20 years, it will only be remembered as the film in which a guy gets his frozen penis stuck to a pole. But for Harold & Kumar fans, that’s probably exactly what they want for Christmas.
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.