A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third "Harold and Kumar" stoner comedy follows the best pals on a late-night Christmas Eve adventure in which they rediscover their lost friendship ... and, in the process, get really, really high. There are endless scenes featuring drugs and drug references (including a recurring gag with a drug-taking baby), plus tons of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), graphic violence, crude comments, gratuitous nudity (male and female, boobs and butts), suggestions of underage sex, and teen drinking. All of that said, the film does have heart, and Harold and Kumar's friendship -- as always -- is a strong one.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn), the famous stoner duo, have drifted apart. Harold has become a married Wall Street banker with a house in the suburbs, and Kumar has ... not. He's still a die-hard pot smoker, who lives alone in a filthy apartment. But in A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS, a mysterious gift brings the pair back together, and soon they're running through the streets of New York during a wild night of misadventures that features Russian mobsters, a giant killer snowman, a waffle-making robot, and, of course, plenty of drugs. Their mission is to find a Christmas tree, but the real goal is to rediscover their friendship.
Is it any good?
The third installment of the Harold and Kumar franchise is quite funny, even though it goes so very wrong in so many ways. There's the baby who gets dosed with several strong drugs, the accidental shooting of a revered holiday icon, the celebrity who pretends to be gay so he can bed women (the gay-in-real-life Neil Patrick Harris, again playing a debauched version of himself), the racial stereotypes, the underage drinking, and (of course) the over-the-top drug consumption.
Nobody is spared in this stoner comedy, which is part of the reason it works. Also, it has heart. This isn't just a film about getting high; it's a movie about friendship and growing up ... and getting high. Harold and Kumar realize that though they've grown in different directions, they both learn from each other. In the process, they become better friends and better people. (And did we mention they get high?) This film is in 3-D, though not for any obvious reason. If the main goal was to show a giant marijuana smoke ring coming right at the viewers, the filmmakers succeeded. Otherwise, the effect is mostly unnecessary.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about drugs and drug use. Do you think this is an accurate depiction of social attitudes about marijuana? Why or why not? Does the movie address any of the consequences of drug use? As a comedy, is it expected to?
How do Harold and Kumar change over the course of the film? Why is Kumar so reluctant to grow up? Why do you think the friends drifted apart? Does their friendship seem believable? Were drugs really the only thing that could bring them back together?
- In theaters: November 4, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: February 7, 2012
- Cast: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
- Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
- Studio: Mandate Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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