“I shot Santa Clause in the face. He’s real, and I shot him in the face.”
This series of films is one of the most interesting film franchises that I’ve ever seen happen mainly because I can almost not explain how these films get sequels. They’re the evolution of the Cheech & Chong series, but now on steroids, ecstasy, cocaine and add a shot of whisky to the mix for good measure.
Harold and Maria (Paula Garces) married, we see our two best friends not together anymore. Harold has grown up and gotten a pretty regular grown-up life, while Kumar remains in their old apartment getting high and crying over the loss of his girlfriend. A package appears at Kumar’s door for Harold and this is the instigator for a night of debauchery (as is needed for a film of this type) as Kumar ruins everything for Harold and sends them on a journey for a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
In 2004 Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle was released theatrically. It was the film which revitalized Neil Patrick Harris’ career. The film also introduced us to the dynamic-duo and best friends, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) who’ve both gone on to do relatively big things in film and TV (which this film has fun calling back to with fun mentions of Penn’s time in employment to the White House and Cho’s role as Sulu in Star Trek (2009)). The film even takes into account Neil Patrick Harris’ up-to-date real life happenings since 2004, including How I Met Your Mother and his coming out as being gay, and manages to somehow circumvent that for the sake of this fictitious version of NPH that has existed in these movies.
This film is a fun ninety minutes where Kumar pushes Harold constantly from scene to scene making his overly kind has to make everything go perfectly attitude goes further and further out the window. This film however, adds the madness of Christmas, 3D, Danny Trejo (and a really criminal looking family), Elias Koteas as a Russian mob boss and Tom Lennon as Harold’s friend who’s daughter Kumar manages to get high and marijuana and cocaine.
The film’s use of 3D is gimmicky. However, it admits to its gimmick and embraces it. It stares at you wondering why this film is in 3D and just shoves more things at you and it’s funny for no real reason other than its own ridiculousness. There’s even a joke of how Trejo’s going to “jizz” on the tree, queue to freeze frame visual of semen coming at us on screen. It’s fun in its own ridiculous way, like the other two films are.
Love or hate it Harold and Kumar managed to defy the traditional studio formula and make three truly entertaining movies – I’m still willing to believe that the second movie was good (even though it wasn’t as good as the first or this one). I hope however that – even though there is a line calling to it – there isn’t any more of these movies, eventually running the series into the ground like most American television shows outstaying their welcome.