Todd Strauss-Schulson is under the influence of ‘Harold & Kumar’

Todd Strauss-Schulson, director of the new “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,’’ at the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)
Todd Strauss-Schulson, director of the new “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,’’ at the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

You don’t have to be under the influence to enjoy “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,’’ but it sure helps. So says director Todd Strauss-Schulson, who was in town yesterday to hype the third installment of the weed-friendly franchise starring John Cho and Kal Penn. “A bunch of things appealed to me about doing this. First, I’m a big fan and saw the first movie in college and saw the second on opening night,’’ he said. “I didn’t want fans to be bummed out because I made a [weak] straight-to-DVD version.’’ And he hasn’t, at least according to initial reviews, which are positive. Asked if he felt any pressure to live up — or down — to the first two films, Strauss-Schulson said yes. “It’s a challenge. I wanted the jokes to be stupid smart, kind of like “

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Blazing Saddles,’’ but this is also the third installment so I wanted to surprise people a little.’’ An Emerson alum, the 31-year-old director was quick to credit his alma mater – and many of his classmates – with helping him make his feature-film debut. “No exaggeration, 35 of us moved out to L.A. after graduation. We all lived in the same neighborhood, stayed friends, and a bunch of them worked on the movie.’’

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