Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express
Put this in your pipe and smoke it.

There are certain films that everyone can appreciate as a timeless classic. Citizen Kane. The Godfather. Casablanca. Gone With the Wind. There are specific genres, however, that have their own classics, reflected by the subculture that enjoys them most. For stoners, slackers and potheads, the list of classics might include Reefer Madness, Cheech & Chong, Dazed and Confused, PCU, and Half Baked.

The "stoner film" subgenre is still going strong, with cannabis-fueled comedy duos like Harold & Kumar and Tenacious D. Added to that long list of ‘dudes who sit on couches and smoke weed all day' is Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) and his drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco), the stars of Pineapple Express.

Directed by David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad), Pineapple Express is another one of those films preceded with the familiar phrase, "From the creators of Knocked Up and Superbad." Just incase you've been living in a cave, or smoking pot on a couch all day, Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) has taken over the comedy genre. He's the guy who put names like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Siegel on the map.

In Apatow and company's latest film, stoner Dale Denton (Rogen) and his dealer (Franco) are forced to go on the run after Denton witnesses a murder. The perpetrators, a drug kingpin (Gary Cole) and a corrupt cop (Rosie Perez), will stop at nothing to kill Denton and his accomplice before the truth gets out.

What sets Pineapple Express apart from Apatow's other films is the over-the-top action sequences and gratuitous violence. The film plays like Cheech & Chong meets Die Hard, with numerous car chases, shootouts and fight scenes. There are loads of drug references, obviously, to please the stoner crowd and enough situational humor to keep general audiences laughing.

There are certain elements in Pineapple Express that work flawlessly, namely the performances. James Franco as weed dealer Saul Silver is a wonderful surprise. In recent years Franco has been known more for his work in the Spider-Man movies or forgettable films like Annapolis and Tristan + Isolde, but his involvement with Apatow's television series "Freaks and Geeks" showcased his comedic talents. Another performance worth mentioning is Danny R. McBride as Saul's dealer Red.

McBride is the next big thing. After starring in Akiva Schaffer's 2007 film Hot Rod, McBride has played bit parts in films like The Heartbreak Kid and Drillbit Taylor, while also dealing out karate kicks in the independent hit The Foot Fist Way. You'll be seeing McBride soon in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder and Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell. After seeing his neck brace-wearing character pump shotguns and bake cakes in Pineapple Express, you'll instantly wish McBride would've been with Apatow's crew from the start.

Though the performances are excellent, the real problem with Pineapple Express is the pacing. The film limps its way from one over-the-top action set piece to the next. Though the dialogue in-between is funny, a lot of the jokes feel as if they were recycled from Superbad and sprinkled with some cannabis-related references.

Another problem is the film's unnecessary subplots, namely one involving a drug war with Asian dealers / ninjas, which falls flat completely. Rosie Perez and Gary Cole are believable in their roles as killers, but their bumbling cronies never completely hit the mark. At best these other story points generate titters and chuckles and only contribute to the film's sluggish pace.

Overall, Pineapple Express just doesn't feel as fresh or inspired as Apatow's other films. It's thoroughly entertaining, but falls short when compared to Superbad and Knocked Up - the current benchmarks for the genre. Perhaps it doesn't feel as fresh because Apatow has set up a comedic monopoly of sorts in Hollywood. It seems every comedy that's come out in the past few years has involved him or his recurring cast of actors. Competition yields greater results, and lately Apatow's only competition is himself.

But hey, just because Pineapple Express isn't a classic in the vein of Caddyshack or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, doesn't mean it isn't funny. It gets funnier with repeated viewings and is a worthy addition to the all-time greats of the ‘stoner film' genre. Dale Denton and Saul Silver are by far two of the funniest dudes to ever sit on a couch and get high.

Reviewed by: adam
8 Comment(s)
Shea said...
3 to 3.5 is about what I would give it. I enjoyed it. I found myself watching my watch a bit.

I was definitely disappointed with the violence only because a friend of mine built it up so much before hand saying it was super bloody... and it wasn't.

James Franco was amazing.... i was surprised.
Andy said...
What happened to Nick's review? Did Adam erase it and post his own?!? Surely not...that would be insane. Well, let me try and comment based on what I can remember of Nick's review. I don't remember any of it so I guess I can't. But I will give Adam 0 stars for his backstabbing ways.
Adam said...
To set the record straight - Shea asked me to post it, so I did - we had the same star rating anyway.
Shea said...
Wow... gutted in public for the second time in 24 hours.

Ummm... dont make it sound like I came crawling to you to post it. "I asked you to?".... only because you were proclaiming from the other room that you thought it was the best review you had ever written... I was more dumb founded that you didnt want to write a review for ProLife.
Nick said...

You erased my review! I see how it is! I'm the lesser of the reviewers here! Nobody cares about *ME*!

(seriously though... I've seen duplicate reviews for movies here before... for instance, if Adam and Shea wrote a review of the same movie, both were posted up... so why was mine removed?)
Shea said...
miscommunication from all parties involved. It was nothing wrong with you review. Ha... it jsut got lost in translation. No worries bro... they should have both been posted.

we love you here.
Adam said...
We currently don't have a way to do that - we'd like some sort of tab system to have multiple reviews for a movie, but we don't have anything like that yet.... *ahem* Paul *cough*

And it's definitely nothing personal Nick - but lately I've been trying to take some of our older reviews (which aren't even really reviews, they're just two paragraphs of randomness) and replace them with actual reviews. So yeah, when it came to Pineapple Express I saw that yours was short and we basically had the same thoughts/rating on it so I swapped it out.
Troy said...
That's weird.