Posts tagged John Cho
3D movies take entertainment to new heights, making ordinary visuals, extraordinary through great spectacle. However some things just shouldn’t take on the extra dimension. Male genitals are one of them, even if they’re only animated.
In newcomer Todd Strauss-Schulson’s comedy “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” a claymation member comes very close to taking your eye out, during a drug induced hallucination. Needless to say it’s pretty gross, though you may find it amusing if you’re not easily offended.
The purpose of sharing this over-the-top moment is certainly not to frighten you away, but rather to let you know what you’re in for with this film. If you don’t find that kind of stuff funny, you should probably stop reading…now. For those of you left, let’s take a deep breath, because it’s not that outrageous for the entire movie.
Aside from the genitals, Todd Strauss-Schulson has created a 3D extravaganza that is visually stimulating. His film manages to poke fun at the 3D craze, while simultaneously celebrating it. Strauss-Schulson successfully rides the line between parody and tribute as puffs of pot smoke billow off the screen at you, and eggs from an angry mob hilariously pummel Bobby Lee in the face.
“A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas” also cleverly worships great Christmas movies of yesteryear. The most obvious sequences influenced by holiday specials are a large performance number, a claymation hallucination based on the Rankin/Bass animated films, and a not so subtle take on a particular scene from “A Christmas Story.”
Talented directing and skilled homage are not enough to support the entire film though. Unfortunately “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas” shows significant weakness with its story and its humor.
At the opening of the movie, it’s obvious that our titular buddies have suffered a major falling out, and have not spoken for years. When Kumar (Kal Penn) receives a package accidentally intended for Harold (John Cho), he attempts to bring it to its rightful owner. In true Kumar fashion though, he causes destruction after just a few minutes, by accidentally torching the prized Christmas tree belonging to Harold’s father-in-law (Danny Trejo). Determined to win his father-in-law’s approval, Harold sets out on a quest to replace the tree, with Kumar accidentally in tow.
The tale then follows a logical path. Harold and Kumar warm up to one another, and they begin to remember why they were friends in the first place. Where it starts to get cheesy though is a side story about Kumar learning to grow up. As a stoner comedy that revels in the lighthearted, this sentimental bit feels extremely forced and out of place. It stinks of the cliché, feel-good warm and fuzzies you get in a more legitimate Christmas film.
Their journey is reminiscent of their previous outings, a wild night filled with all sorts of crazy encounters: Russian gangsters, waffle making robots, and yes, you guessed it, Neil Patrick Harris himself. The jokes themselves just don’t have the same pop though.
Probably the most insane development is a running gag about a baby that accidentally ingests several hard drugs, which isn’t really funny at all, it’s just messed up. And if a guy who likes screwball humor can’t even appreciate the jokes, then you know something is wrong. Stylistically “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas” is better than “Escape from Guantamo Bay,” but it doesn’t capture the magic of their adventure to White Castle.
My Grade: C+
The famous stoner duo Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are back! They return to theaters this weekend with their 3D holiday extravaganza “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” which reunites the estranged friends for a night of holiday hijinx, after Kumar accidentally burns down the prized Christmas tree belonging to Harold’s father-in-law (Danny Trejo).
Recently I had the pleasure of talking with the film’s director, Todd Strauss-Schulson, who is making his feature length directing debut with this comedy. I sat down with the Emerson College alum at a local Boston bar, on a nice sunny afternoon to discuss his experience directing, his close ties to Emerson classmates, and the origins of the waffle making robot in the film.