Christmastime is here, and Kumar (Kal Penn) leaps onto the lap of Santa (Patton Oswalt) at the department store, cutting the queue much to the displeasure of the waiting children, and tells him what he'd like for the big day. Santa informs the overage knee-sitter that he'd better see him in the parking lot, so when they meet again he supplies him with some seasonally-themed marijuana - the Kwanza one will be ideal. As they smoke themselves into oblivion, Kumar doesn't have any thought of the state his life is in: thrown out of medical school, living on his own, and where on earth is Harold (John Cho)?
He's doing very well for himself as a Wall Street Banker, not the most popular of careers but he has settled down with Maria (Paula Garcés) in a comfortable house, although it's about to get a lot less cosy - and in 3D! Here, for the third instalment of wacky stoner adventures, regular writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg opted for the third dimension as the gimmick du jour, using it as it was probably meant to be used, by pointing, flinging and squirting a variety of things at the audience's eyes, an unashamed bid for the market usually set aside for splashy (not like that) blockbusters. Did this mean this time around the comedy would only work as a visual effects festival?
Nope, it was just as funny in 2D, although you had to be attuned to the mixture of coarse and goofy which had become the series trademark to find it funny. If you were any kind of prude, Harold and Kumar would not be for you, if not, the amount of gags centering around fluids ejaculated at the screen would be more amusing with each successive try, although it was not all lowest common denominator humour. It was just mostly that, and for what it was for every joke which was mildly entertaining, there were plenty which provided the belly laughs as the writers placed their two heroes into increasing doses of farce and fantasy. It began in a loosely real world, but given the season it was only a matter of time before it was going to get crazy.
You know what that meant: Santa Claus was coming to town, but before Harold shoots him out of the Christmas Eve sky accidentally there was a lot of business to contend with about lost Christmas trees and Ukranian gangsters. How do the less than dynamic duo get into these situations when they haven't seen each other in years? There is a way of reuniting them, and it's all part of the magic of Yuletide though you don't find that out till later, all you know initially is that now-deadbeat Kumar receives a parcel destined for Harold, so heads over with his new, obnoxious friend Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld) to deliver it to its rightful owner. One thing leads to another, and after being invited in by his long lost pal Kumar has set light to his tree.
Not good, because Harold's father-in-law is Danny Trejo (inspired casting) and he is obsessed with Christmas, and Maria has invited the extended family over to see them. Will this ruin everything? Where's Neil Patrick Harris, anyway? Rest assured, he shows up in a musical number where his then-newly declared homosexuality is put into question, as part of the night where the two friends have to find a new tree before midnight or something - it grows less important as the movie progresses. Everyone was evidently trying to combine the warmth of the celebration with the undercutting bad taste of this kind of humour, and the best method was to head way over the top, so what you got was a robot which makes waffles (and curiously familiar to Rocky IV fans) and a baby trying a cocktail of drugs through no fault of its own, even a claymation sequence and an X-rated homage to the tongue frozen to the pole from A Christmas Story. Yes, it was stupid, but yet again this engagingly supplied the laughs. Music by William Ross.