By Ashley Fetters
Updated July 27, 2011 at 06:59 PM EDT
Darren Michaels

The first-ever 3-D live-action Christmas movie is slated for release on Nov. 4, according to Warner Brothers. Is it a coincidence that the first-ever 3-D stoner movie is also set for a Nov. 4 release by Warner Bros.? Nope, that’s just the magic of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas — the third installment of Harold Lee and Kumar Patel’s wacky, genre-bending adventure trilogy is the first of its kind in so many ways.

This fall’s offering serves up more of returning screenwriters Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz’s signature highbrow-yet-gross-out brand of humor. This time around, though, the franchise is getting a fresh jolt of blockbuster juice from first-time director Todd Strauss-Schulson, who’ll oversee Harold and Kumar as they contend with robots, Claymation, a “huge car crash” and 3-D marijuana smoke rings. “The adventure is epic, and the 3-D is epic, and the amount of action-y spectacle scenes are epic,” says Strauss-Schulson. “It’s epically absurd.”

The third Harold & Kumar flick finds the titular duo in disarray: Six years after their adventure at Guantanamo Bay, the two stoner buddies (John Cho and Kal Penn) have grown apart and replaced each other with new “surrogate best friends.” But when Harold’s father-in-law’s (Danny Trejo) prize-winning Christmas tree is accidentally burned down, Kumar and ’Roldy reunite and embark on a quest to replace it. (Strauss-Schulson won’t reveal details on the tragic demise of the Christmas tree, but he assures us that it’s “a glorious 3D explosion. Tree out the window, glass flying everywhere. It’s like Resident Evil or something!”)

Joining the cast as Harold and Kumar’s replacement besties are Tom Lennon (Reno 911!) and newcomer Amir Blumenfeld (best known for his work on College Humor). “[Harold]’s got Tom Lennon as his best friend,” says Strauss-Schulson, “and he’s like a calcified version of everything that’s wrong with Harold. He’s the … whitest, most boring man in the world.” Blumenfeld, meanwhile, plays Kumar’s cringe-worthy new partner in crime: “He’s the worst, most distilled version of Kumar,” Strauss-Schulson says. “Irresponsible. Thoughtless.”

A recurring feature we’re excited for, however, is the perennial outrageously crass cameo by one Neil Patrick Harris. Yep, count on it — Doogie Howser himself, despite a scrape with death in the second installment, is back in the game for Round 3. “Neil is in this show-stopping Christmas spectacular dance number,” Strauss-Schulson says. “He’s on crack, he goes to heaven and he meets Jesus, he attempts rape, he abuses a robot, he’s telekinetic. It’s crazy. Straight-up crazy. It’s great.”

“I wanted this to be a ‘Trojan horse’ movie,” Strauss-Schulson explains. “The idea was that it should look like a Christmas movie, and at the end of the movie you should feel the warm fuzzies like you’re watching Miracle on 34th Street. But, like a Trojan horse, it’s filled with the most subversive, dirty [stuff]. There’s lesbian nuns, pedophile priests… all this stuff, [but] people walk away feeling like they’ve just seen this really sweet Christmas movie.”

So, just to recap, the third Harold & Kumar film has a little something for everyone. “If you like robots, we’ve got a robot. There’s romance. There’s action. There’s violence. Elias Koteas plays a mob boss,” Strauss-Schulson says. “If you’re into graphic novels, there’s a whole graphic novel dream sequence.”

As long as there’s at least one graphic novel dream sequence, we’re in.