A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

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A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Two men stand on either side of Neil Patrick Harris holding a candy cane like a gun.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTodd Strauss-Schulson
Written by
Produced byGreg Shapiro
CinematographyMichael Barrett
Edited byEric Kissack
Music byWilliam Ross
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • November 4, 2011 (2011-11-04)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$19 million[2]
Box office$36.2 million[3]

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (previously titled A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) is a 2011 American buddy stoner Christmas comedy film directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. The sequel to Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008), it is the third installment in the Harold & Kumar franchise, and stars John Cho, Kal Penn, and Neil Patrick Harris. The film follows estranged friends Harold Lee (Cho) and Kumar Patel (Penn) as they reunite to hunt for a Christmas tree.

Preparations for the film began in May 2009, with Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Strauss-Schulson signing soon thereafter. Cho, Harris, and Penn returned by June 2010, with the latter departing his role in the U.S. Office of Public Liaison to reprise his role in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. Principal photography began later that month and lasted until that August, with filming locations including Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City. Its marketing campaign used guerilla tactics led by Cho and Penn to promote the film's 3D and animated elements, a new for the franchise.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was theatrically released in the United States on November 4, 2011, by Warner Bros. The film received generally positive critical reception, with praise for the Christmas theme and performances of Cho, Penn, and Harris, but criticism for some of its humor.


Seven years after escaping from Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and two years after they have last spoken, best friends and roommates Harold Lee and Kumar Patel have gone their separate ways. Harold has given up smoking cannabis, become a successful businessman on Wall Street and married his Latina girlfriend Maria. Kumar, on the other hand, still lives in the messy apartment he once shared with Harold after getting kicked out of medical school due to failing a drug test. Kumar has recently been dumped again by his girlfriend Vanessa, who arrives at Kumar's apartment to inform him that she is pregnant with his child. Maria's father and Harold's father-in-law Mr. Perez decides to stay at Harold and Maria's house for Christmas. Mr. Perez, who does not like Harold, brings his prized Christmas tree that he has been growing for eight years, and gives Harold a short lecture about the tree's importance to his family. Kumar receives a package with Harold's name on it at his apartment and decides to deliver it to Harold. At Harold's house, they discover the item inside to be a large marijuana joint.

Kumar lights the joint, but Harold throws it out of the window, only for it to magically land in the tree - resulting in it being burnt down. Harold learns that Kumar's new friend Adrian is attending a party with a Fraser Fir Christmas tree, and promises to drive him to the party on the condition that he can have the tree. Harold, Kumar, Adrian, and Todd (Harold's new best friend) arrive at the party, where a girl named Mary attempts to seduce Harold, Mary is revealed to be the daughter of Russian mob kingpin Sergei Katsov, who sends two of his men to kill Harold and Kumar, believing that they were trying to rape his daughter after Harold refuses to have sex with Mary. The duo make it out of the building without the Christmas tree and run into their friends, Rosenberg and Goldstein, for the first time in years. Harold and Kumar plan to steal a tree from a church, but end up participating in a Christmas show featuring Neil Patrick Harris, who they thought had died after being shot outside a Texas whorehouse seven years ago. Harris reveals that he did die, but Jesus Christ kicked him out of Heaven. Revealing that he is now telepathic, Harris hooks the pair up with a Christmas tree and a Wafflebot before sending them off.

The two make their way to Harold's house to put up the tree, but end up being kidnapped by two of Katsov's men, and are saved by Wafflebot. After Harold accidentally shoots Santa Claus in the head, Kumar gives him emergency surgery. In exchange for saving his life, Santa agrees to fly them back home in his sleigh, and reveals that he sent the package to reunite the friends. Harold arrives home to encounter Mr. Perez, who is enraged when he discovers his Christmas tree is gone. Harold finally stands up to him, explaining that he may not be the perfect son-in-law, but he is the perfect guy for Maria. Mr. Perez says that he always knew Harold was a nice guy. He just wanted to make sure that he had "cojones" before accepting him into his family. Harold and Kumar rekindle their friendship, Kumar and Vanessa rekindle their romance, and Kumar tells Vanessa that he will re-take the exams to become a doctor and give up weed for the sake of their child; however, Vanessa advises him to break the latter, promising to give him her urine for another drug test. Maria discovers that she is pregnant on Christmas morning and that Santa has left a replacement tree in their lounge. Harold decides to smoke weed again, and he and Kumar share a joint for the first time in years. Santa flies overhead, smoking a bong, wishing everyone a merry Christmas.



In April 2009, Kal Penn accepted a position in the Obama administration as associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. When asked if his new job would mean no more Harold and Kumar films, he said, "That's probably true for now."[4] However, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was announced on May 7, 2009, for release on December 5, 2010, at the earliest and possibly deferred to the 2011 holiday season.[5] Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg returned to write the film while Todd Strauss-Schulson directed and Greg Shapiro returned as producer.[6][7] Penn left his job with the White House on June 1, 2010, to reprise his role as Kumar in the third Harold & Kumar installment.[8]

Filming took place in Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City from June to August 2010, with the use of Panavision Genesis HD and Element Technica 3D Rig. The film was released in RealD 3D on November 4, 2011. Animators from Laika created the clay animation scene.

After filming was completed, Penn returned to the White House.[9] Cho and Penn went on a tour to promote the film in different college towns. At each stop they had a bus hand out "munchies".[10]


Box office[edit]

During its first weekend, the film opened at third place behind Puss in Boots and Tower Heist, grossing $13 million, below its prediction of $18 million.[11] At the end of its box office run, the film earned a total of $35.4 million, against a budget of $19 million.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68%, based on 131 reviews, with a rating average of 6.15/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Still raunchy, still irreverent, and still hit-and-miss, this Harold & Kumar outing also has a Christmas miracle: The audience gets to see the sweeter side of the duo."[12] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 61 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, saying "It's not that I was particularly offended; it's that I didn't laugh very much."[14] Justin Chang of Variety wrote: "This vulgar romp is a generally harmless, heartwarming affair, a cinematic Christmas cookie almost sweet and flaky enough to cover the fact that it's laced with hash, cocaine and assorted bodily fluids, blood included."[15] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter called it "A mildly diverting naughty comedy, lacking the pure comic nastiness of Bad Santa or the sheer audacity of Up in Smoke."[16]

Home media[edit]

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 7, 2012. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in two versions: firstly, Single-Disc Blu-ray and DVD combo and secondly, Movie-Only Edition.[17] As of February 3, 2015, the film has sold 607,330 video discs, including 447,288 DVDs and 160,042 Blu-ray Discs, giving a gross of $6,649,425 and $4,855,462 respectively, for a total gross of $11,504,887 in North America.[18]


Composer William Ross received a nomination for Best Original Score for a Comedy Film at the 2011 International Film Music Critics Association Awards.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 21, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (November 3, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Tower Heist' to swipe No. 1 spot from rivals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Monez, Mindy (April 7, 2009). "'House': The Truth Behind the Shocking Surprise". Television Without Pity. Yahoo! TV. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "It's Going to be a 'Very Harold and Kumar Christmas'". MTV Movies Blog. May 7, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  6. ^ "Harold and Kumar 3 Announced". Slash Film. July 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 24, 2008). "'Harold & Kumar' set for third puff". Variety. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Abrams, Natalie (April 2, 2010). "Kal Penn Leaving Washington to Reprise Role in Harold & Kumar - Today's News: Our Take". TVGuide.com. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job After Leaving To Film 'Harold & Kumar' Sequel". ABC News. November 15, 2010. Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "Vote To Have The Harold And Kumar Munchies Truck Come To Your College". Cinema Blend. October 13, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  11. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (November 6, 2011). "Box Office Report: Holdover 'Puss in Boots' Wins in Shocking Upset over Brett Ratner's 'Tower Heist'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  12. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  13. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 2, 2011). "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". Chicago Sun-Times.
  15. ^ Chang, Justin (November 3, 2011). "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". Variety.
  16. ^ Kirk Honeycutt (November 3, 2011). "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas DVD release". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  18. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  19. ^ "2011 IFMCA Awards". International Film Music Critics Association. February 24, 2012. Archived from the original on February 28, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2023.

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