Blu-ray Review: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas Blu-raySTUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Todd Strauss-Schulson | CAST: John Cho, Kal Penn, Patton Oswalt, Danny Trejo, Elias Koteas, Neil Patrick Harris, Paula Garces, Danneel Harris
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 2/7/2012 | PRICE: DVD $28.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $35.99, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo $44.95
BONUSES: extended version, featurettes, deleted scenes, more
SPECS: R/NR | 90 min./96 min. | Comedy | 2.40:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

With its lovingly irreverent look at celebrating that very special time of the year with family, friends and ex-friends, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas proves to be one of the most enjoyable holiday comedies to come along in recent years.

A Very Harold & Kumar ChristmasIn the movie, it has been six years since the titular stoners Harold (John Cho, TV’s FlashForward and Kumar (Kal Penn, TV’s House M.D) busted out of Guantanamo Bay, which apparently resulted in the pair’s estrangement. A little heavier but not any more motivated, Kumar still likes to puff, while Harold has gone the suburban yuppie route and settled down to a smoke-free life with his lovely wife Maria (Paula Garces, TV’s The Shield) and family.

Via a wacky plot device revolving around the arrival of Maria’s father (Danny Trejo, Machete), extended clan from Mexico and a mysterious holiday package containing a mystical joint, Harold and Kumar are thrown together again for a new adventure that finds them running around the suburbs and New York City in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Along the way, they come across everything from a Ukrainian gangster (Elias Koteas, Dream House), a drug-dealing mall Santa (Patton Oswalt, Young Adult), healthy dose of weed, a handful of car chases, an interlude as clay animation characters and an appearance in a Broadway musical with incomparable serious regular Neil Patrick Harris (TV’s How I Met Your Mother), who’s been resurrected after being riddled with bullets in the previous movie.

Breezily directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (Naked But Funny),  A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is peppered with scatological humor and weed a’plenty, yes, but it can still be considered good, almost-clean fun. And that the film also sends up such conventions as holiday movies and yuppies while cleverly having its titular characters cross the line from young adulthood to full-on grown-up status is an accomplishment worth lauding.

In keeping with the movie’s festive mood, the Blu-ray edition’s visual presentation is sparkling.  The lush green of Christmas trees, the silvery glittery of the snow, the bright red of Santa’s suit — it all looks delicious.

The extended cut of the movie is, of course, noticeably raunchier and a little more nudity-friendly (the camera lingers on the lithe, blouse-free bodies of several lovelies during a dream sequence), but the six additional minutes are nothing exceptional.

The bonus materials on the disc are relatively limited and surprisingly tame. Clocking in at nine minutes,Through the Haze With Tom Lennon,” a collection of bits for the Electronic Press Kit (EPK) hosted by funny co-star Lennon, is the longest and breeziest of the bunch.

There’s also a short piece on the creation of the film’s fun clay animation sequence (which reveals the sculpting of an enormous clay animation penis!) and a handful of forgettable deleted scenes that runs for about four minutes.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.