The greatest strength of the Harold and Kumar films is also its greatest weakness; Neil Patrick Harris. Used primarily in a cameo-esque capacity, the screen sizzles whenever he’s on camera. In the roughly 10 minutes he’s in A AVERY HAROLD AND KUMAR CHRISTMAS, I laughed harder than at any point combined during the other 80 minutes of the film. And with each film, they find a way to use him creatively and his willingness to make fun of himself makes him that much more endearing to the audience. But the problem is that since we know he’s going to be in the film, we as an audience find ourselves waiting for him to show up. And the rest of the film just can’t live up to what NPH brings to the table.
The once stoner best friends Harold and Kumar have gone their separate ways and are now living very different lives. Harold is now a successful businessman, living a nice life with his beautiful wife. Kumar, on the other hand, dropped out of medical school and spends his days getting high. The two are reunited when a mysterious package shows up on Kumar’s front step for Harold and he decided to take it to his once best friend. That sets off a chain of events that catapults our stoner heroes through New York City in search of a Christmas tree and away from some angry Russian mobsters trying to kill them.
Contrary to the other Harold and Kumar films, the Christmas film featured a lot more dialogue, most of it unfunny. There was a moderately serious (as serious as these films can be) undertone of friends growing up and growing apart that always pulled the audience away from the funny. And it took way too long to get to the funny situations. The scene at the mobsters house was the first scene that was truly funny and it took half the film to get there. And from that point, the film didn’t have anywhere to go, which made for some dull moments that failed to hit the funny bone. However, the times it did manage to hit the right spot, the film did so with great success. Unfortunately, those moments were too few and far between and we’re left with more chuckle moments and less laugh out loud scene stealers.
For the fourth film (and you know there will be one), it would behoove the filmmakers to make NPH a featured player. I know they like using him as the surprise diversion like they did in the first film, but when virtually all of your marketing for the film revolves around NPH, you might as well make him the star. The audience, as well as the filmmakers, know he’s the best thing about these films and giving him more screen time will only help the franchise. I love Harold and Kumar as much as the next guy, but they need someone stronger to guide them (or follow them) on their next journey. We’re all waiting for NPH to show up anyway, you might as well give the audience what they want.
Video: The video quality is wonderful and this bright and colorful film shines through perfectly.
Audio: The audio is fine, but I felt it was lacking a bit, especially with the use of surround channels. I was disappointed that the extended version of the film doesn’t offer a lossless audio track like the theatrical version.
Through the Haze with Tom Lemmon (8:57): This is a great featurette that features six different EPK shorts, all of which are hilarious and worth checking out.
Title (3:59): A quick featurette on the claymation used in the film.
Deleted Scenes (4:07): Not much to note in the way of deleted scenes.