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It would be too easy to make a reference to illegal narcotics here, so that’s what’s going to happen.
You know when that “cigarette” has been smoked to the very end? That’s the feeling you get with the Harold and Kumar Christmas threequel. There’s still a taste, but the best is long gone.

It’s the good ol’ buddy/stoner/insert-genre setup. Harold (John Cho) wants to impress his father-in-law by hosting the perfect Christmas for his wife’s family; but when his stoner med-school dropout buddy Kumar (Kal Penn) turns up with a mysterious package, his plans literally go up in flames. The result is a feature-length mess of situational comedy which the duo set out to fix.

The Harold and Kumar franchise has always sold itself on violence, crude humour and being offensive for the sake of it. When Harold and Kumar went to Whitecastle, it was at least, original; there was a new bromance in the air. Escape from Guantanamo Bay was kind of timely and relevant to the political situation at the time. Harold and Kumar three, alas, has pretty much nothing going for it.

The Harold and Kumar series is now a shadow of its former self. There are moments of laughter, but nothing funnier than an average Little Britain episode. It will disappoint even those going to see it for the shock value because it’s just not that shocking. Sure, there are penises galore, bloody violence and even a drugged-up toddler, but this is the age of the Internet. We’ve seen worse.

Redeeming qualities are sparse. Okay, the 3D actually worked – but only because nearly every second joke referenced the unneccessary use of 3D. Neil Patrick Harris playing a warped version of himself is the only thing that could possibly make this fim worth seeing, but even then it’s a bit weak. Danny Trejo, playing Harold’s father-in-law, displays just how good he is at being a scary Hispanic man, so that’s all right I suppose.

It just seems so pointless and half-assed to squeeze a sequel out of Harold and Kumar. It’s probably the laziest franchise Christmas cash-in I’ve seen in my life. Never mind splicing genres, A Very 3D Christmas is a nasty hybrid of tired formula and cliché.

Still, it is what it is: an unambitious, goofy, offbeat offering to the Christmas cinema audience and a bit of fun to watch. If you find yourself at a loose end in early January, and you’ve seen everything else projected at a wall this Christmas, it might be worth a trip to the local omniplex.

Originally published on campus.ie

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