Pineapple ExpressPut 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
"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
." 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.
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.
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.