Your take on A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas can probably be gauged by asking just one question: What do you reckon for a scene featuring one of the titular characters getting his penis stuck to an icy-cold lamppost? If you're still chuckling at the mental image then you've probably already bought your ticket. If you're aghast at the prospect, then your seasonal needs will be better met by Arthur Christmas.
Fret not if you haven't seen either of Harold (John Cho) & Kumar (Kal Penn)'s previous theatrical outings - 2004's ...Go to White Castle/Get the Munchies and 2008's ...Escape From Guantanamo Bay. We're sure there are plenty of throwbacks and references that go over our head, but A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a standalone pleasure.
It's stupid, juvenile, definitely offensive, occasionally racist, and quite possibly without any enduring merit, but Harold & Kumar's latest weed-filled buddy outing is also hilarious, action-packed, and strangely heartwarming.
The plot finds Kumar, unshaven and living in his own filth, confronted with news that his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) is pregnant. He also receives a gift addressed to his old friend Harold, who he hasn't seen for a while. Meanwhile, Harold has clearly moved on from his stoner ways, suited and booted and living it up while the anti-capitalist protesters rage below.
He's settled down with his lovely wife Maria (Paula Garcés). All's well, except her family - headed by terrifying patriarch Mr Perez (Danny Trejo) - are coming to stay. Left to decorate the family's sacred tree, he's met by Harold. As the mystery gift and Christmas tree go up in smoke (ahem), estranged friends Harold and Kumar end up going on an adventure which will, of course, bring them back to each other where they belong.
Before they get there, though, they have to navigate an Eastern European mob boss, a coked up baby, a ridiculous Neil Patrick Harris, a waffle-making robot and a hell of a lot more.
Some of it's not for the faint of heart, but by the time a dead NPH in heaven yoinks a couple of topless women from Jesus Christ, prompting the messiah to ring his dad for a quick whinge, anyone who would have been offended will have left the room long ago.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas ain't gonna win any Oscars, and The CAP Movie Ministry will wear their typewriter out on the thing. But in terms of stupid fun, there's not been better in 2011. A headspinning claymation acid trip and visit to a pair of good-gangsta/bad-gangsta tree-sellers are definite standouts.
There's also a nice and early self-deprecating dig at the lameness of 3D - the flying eggs, cocaine, and broken glass here are all pretty rubbish. Director Todd Strauss-Shulson has found the one realistic use of stereoscopy, though, with puffs of smoke that really do look like they fill the room.
At times it felt like constantly being offered a cheeky blowback from the silver screen. Despite our better selves, we inhaled.