Tower Heist and Harold & Kumar Review Round-Up

Tower Heist might be kind of plot-heavy and toothless, but it sure is stylish! The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy called it “snappy, well cast and streetwise in a well-upholstered New York sort of way.” Plus, “Murphy hasn’t been this funny since Beverly Hills Cop, the first edition,” according to Betsey Sharkey of the LA Times.

If you’re hoping for some Occupy Wall Street-type political or economic statement, though, you’re probably in the wrong theater. The New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane says the film “passes the buck” on any real issues, and its unrealistic plot demonstrates a “refusal of all known logic.” A.O. Scott from The New York Times agrees that “credulity is strained at nearly every point, sometimes amusingly (as when a car dangles from a skyscraper, apparently unnoticed by the crowds below) and sometimes annoyingly.” “This movie would fall to pieces if it didn’t hurtle headlong through its absurdist plot without ever pausing for explanations,” writes Roger Ebert. Scott concludes, as do most of these reviews, that “Tower Heist could and should have been much more.”

Opinions on A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas are split on how the film stacks up to its predecessors. The AP’s Christy Lemire writes that the movie is “inordinately jacked up with visual effects and peppy holiday music, but nothing can disguise the fact that this series has run out of steam, that the film’s stars have outgrown the roles that made them famous.” It’s full of “willfully strained outrageousness,” argues The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips, and “the 3-D only makes the general not-funniness that much closer.”

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter allows that “there are occasional inspired flights of fancy including the movie’s sudden deviation into claymation with stop-motion characters, all the winks and nods over the 3D Christmas and yet another appearance by Neil Patrick Harris.” Jonathan Kim at The Huffington Post goes further with the claim the third movie is far better than Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. “Despite the pointless, distracting, self-aware 3D effects that are a hallmark of the medium, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is a return to form, with the plot’s clear and single-minded focus echoing the first film’s mission for munchies.” Indeed, “the ability to share a joint with a friend, or to have a beloved let you use their urine for a drug test, has a proud place in the film’s vision of blissful, multicultural domesticity,” says Bilge Ebiri at New York Magazine. Merry Christmas to all, and too all a good moviegoing experience.

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