Harold & Kumar is a series of films that continues, to a certain degree, in the tradition of stoner-comedy classics made popular by Cheech and Chong. Sure, there are some elements of the films that are far more over-the-top than anything Cheech and Chong ever did, but the two series are comparable.
In the latest entry to the Harold and Kumar franchise, it’s Christmas time, and the two buddies are estranged due to differing lifestyles. Harold has given up the party life, moved on to marriage, a career, and desperately seeking the approval of his father in-law. Kumar, on the other hand, is very much still up to his old antics. A mysterious package arrives at Kumar’s apartment addressed to Harold, so Kumar sets out to deliver it to him. Once Kumar arrives at Harold’s house, it becomes apparent that the package contains an industrial sized joint. A mishap causes Kumar to burn Harold’s father in-law’s Christmas tree down, so everyone involved embarks upon a journey to find a tree similar enough so that it won’t be noticed that the original was destroyed.
I think this new film, as much as I enjoyed “…Escapes From Guantanamo Bay”, is a much more solid entry into the series. Where “Escapes…” was more of a spoof/commentary than anything else, Harold and Kumar’s Christmas tale is a little more grounded in reality. Rather than presenting a series of seemingly impossible events, “Christmas” deals more with the injured relationship between the two long-time friends. And both characters experience their own arc to turn the friendship 180 degrees in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of over-the-top events, such as Neil Patrick Harris in a Broadway Christmas play. But, it doesn’t overpower the overall message of the film, which is friendship is an important thing in everyone’s lives.
If you’ve enjoyed the films up until this point, I think it’s safe to say that you will find plenty to enjoy with the new film. If you were iffy on the past films, you still may be able to find some level of enjoyment. No cheetahs were ridden in this film, I can assure you. Despite the crass, often times vulgar nature of the dialog, which to be honest is why most people watch these films, there’s something heartwarming about seeing the boys mend their relationship. A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas is available on 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray/DVD Combo, and DVD as of February 7th.