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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.06%
Worth A Look44.44%
Average: 29.17%
Pretty Bad: 4.17%
Total Crap: 4.17%

7 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Pineapple Express
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by Erik Childress

"An Old Drug But A New Huey Lewis Song!"
4 stars

I am not a pothead. Hell, I’m not even a pot pinky. Square me up, put me in the uncool corner if you will, but its just not my bag. Nor do I have anything against the pot. What do I care? Smoke up, Johnny! Where I often take exception is being preached to by the oh-so-elevated psyches of the weed blowers that they are the enlightened ones because of their delivery methods to ingest plants that God made for us. If you want an example of how deep my exceptions go, may I suggest you go ask Kim Voynar at Cinematical whom I’m told does a killer impression of me during my viewing of Doug Benson’s Super High Me (where he Spurlock’d his way through thirty straight days of the Mary Jane and along the way made the case for his drug of choice through people who really needed it for health purposes.) Shut up, dude. You just love pot. Admit it and stop blowing it in our face. But funny is funny. While the pot comedy genre has strived more on memorable characters (Spicoli, Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar) than memorable movies, Pineapple Express is the rare exception; another notch on the Apatow Co. train that suffers as the after effect of the non-pot movies that came before it but is still way more entertaining than hanging with people who weren’t funny BEFORE they started smoking.

Seth Rogen has probably done more for pot smoking on screen than a million medicinal activists at a High Times convention. As the weed grower in The 40 Year-Old Virgin and breakfast lecturer in Knocked Up, Rogen’s characters have continued to tell us how much better pot makes everything. Better food. Better sex. Even better healing if you don’t mind bones clicking. His Dale Denton, during the opening montage, continues this tradition talking on the phone like Jack Burton about the joys of pot smoking while he serves subpoenas to unsuspecting recipients. In-between his job and visiting his high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) on campus, he’s picking up more weed from dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) who is sitting on the rare concoction that smells like “God’s vagina.”

Nicknamed the Pineapple Express for its mixture of dirt and wind in Hawaii or something, Dale can’t help but light some during his latest delivery to Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Only its Ted bringing the bad news when Dale witnesses a murder and leaves a roach trail leading right back to him and Saul. Fleeing for their lives until they can sort matters out, Dale and Saul must decide whether or not to trust Saul’s supplier, Red (Danny McBride), the conduit between him and Mr. Jones who is starting a war between him and “the Asians”. (You have to love when Dale decries the simplification of the baddies by saying that technically “Indians are Asians.”) Ted has already dispatched henchmen Matheson (Craig Robinson, so funny here) and Budlofsky (Kevin Corrigan) to snuff out the stoners and even has the law on his side in the form of Rosie Perez who apparently has no qualms of being seen with the local drug dealer in full police blues.

For all the criticism I’ve bestowed upon the stoner comedies, you may be thinking that the average buddy on-the-lam road comedy hangs on an even flimsier thread of plot machinations. Pineapple Express is indeed that and the filmmakers have made no bones of citing their inspirations from the violent comedies of the ‘80s and their stamps are self-evident front-to-back. 48 Hrs.’ James Remar makes an appearance in the film’s prologue. The dumb, bantering hitman and doublecrossing friends recall Midnight Run. The initial hit resembles Takagi’s final scene in Die Hard. There’s even an ear mutilation that might have you thinking Reservoir Dogs. OK, so that was 1992. But just as we’re switching decades, Rogen, co-writer Evan Goldberg and director David Gordon Green are bringing a little of that sensibility into the 21st century, as archaic as it may be.

Pineapple Express is a comedy front-and-center, but working equally (and at times exceeding) are its moments of aggression. You might think Green is just preparing us for more brutal carnage to come. Myself, I just see it as someone having fun with the conventions of on-screen brawling. There are enough moments during an apartment skirmage between Dale, Saul and Red to make a behedder wince and the longer these mano-a-manos went on the more you don’t want them to end, no matter how painful they seem and how unimaginably resilient the participants are. At the same time, all the homages and blatant tips of the hat are a reminder of how well Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg pulled them off in last year’s brilliant Hot Fuzz (my choice for 2007’s best, just ahead of Rogen in Knocked Up.) They found a way to satirize the material while still maintain the kind of undying love for it that allowed them to craft a superior version of all the unapologetically guy-fueled action flicks it was supposed to be just skewering. (It helps that Hot Fuzz was shooting for the lesser elements of the genre rather than the gold standards this film tries to live up to.) Pineapple Express is more straightforward. Too straightforward at times that its plotting makes its quirkier aspects seem like obvious “let’s see how quirky we can get” moments of inspiration. (A drug lord and nail polish comes to mind.) While uncomplicated, the drug war subplot nevertheless comes off as complicated due to its more cartoonish elements and the great Gary Cole never has time to flesh out enough of a comical or heinously villainous creation to either make our heroes feel truly in danger or to keep the tone more consistent.

But funny is funny and Pineapple Express is precisely that thanks to the unforced interplay between Rogen, Franco and (whenever he’s on screen) Danny McBride who can’t find the line between being a friend and survival. Dale and Saul become the stoned cousins of the dark reality that could have befallen Superbad’s Seth and Evan. Their trajectories towards decrying their relationship (and eventually admitting and living up to it) are parallel right down to Rogen’s “character” doing the heavy lifting away from danger and into the start of a beautiful friendship – even if Superbad bests it in the laugh-for-laugh department. You couldn’t go so far to call Pineapple Express a cautionary pot tale, despite its obvious gateway-to-bullets and Dale having one meltdown over the problems its caused them, but the fact that it won’t be remembered as a preachy pulpit for either side is a good thing. It’s just a damn funny comedy and nothing more.

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originally posted: 08/06/08 01:26:40
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User Comments

6/30/14 Edler Loved it!! Very original 5 stars
5/28/12 Jeff Wilder Hilarious if a tad overlong. 4 stars
5/02/12 Chimy Changa funniest fuckin movie ever 5 stars
4/13/12 Monday Morning Hey blah blah, stay in your own crappy country then. Good flick! 4 stars
8/27/10 David M That was a great movie, most of you guys are full of crap 5 stars
2/24/10 Peter North Franco was great. Rogen wouldnt shut up. 40 min too long. sucked. 2 stars
8/13/09 Daniel Kelly Enjoyed it alot in the theater, felt a bit flat away from an audience on DVD. 4 stars
5/21/09 MP Bartley 10 minutes too long, but very funny nonetheless. Franco is brilliant. 4 stars
3/03/09 Mark Funniest movie that I've seen all year. 5 stars
2/23/09 jon g couldnt watch it because I kept falling asleep. 1 stars
2/14/09 Tony Ridiculous reaches new levels of absurdity. 3 stars
1/18/09 blah blah typical unfunny american shit 1 stars
1/15/09 DiNuoscio loved the movie!! HILARIOUS..Franco at his best! 5 stars
1/05/09 Matt C. hilarious. franco is the most memorable. 5 stars
12/19/08 Lee wwwaaaaaaaayyyyy too much shouting for no reason, Made me bored 2 stars
11/09/08 Anne Siebenhoven Simply a gift that keeps on givimg 5 stars
8/24/08 Quigley Pretty good despite the vulgarity. Franco and Rogen make a great team. 4 stars
8/20/08 Brian Mckay It's no Harold and Kumar, but plenty of laughs. Sloppy script, though, and ending fizzles. 4 stars
8/17/08 Margeaux Lots of laughs! 4 stars
8/14/08 jessica brilliant1 a masterpiece! had to hold tears back! 4 stars
8/12/08 Sully First half good stoner comedy second half LAME LAME LAME. Save your money, go buy an oz. 2 stars
8/12/08 plstic so funny, yep..what a writer...talented...i hope he keeps them coming 5 stars
8/11/08 George Barksdale Didn't think I would like it but was very good 5 stars
8/10/08 Samantha Pruitt it was trying to be different and did a really good job of it! hilarious and quotable! 5 stars
8/10/08 Susan another stoner movie from apatow, some funny parts but really out there and stretching 3 stars
8/10/08 crltn a sophisticated, up to date, hilarious, right on Chech and it 5 stars
8/09/08 Tom Paul Reeves i agree with zimmerman 1 stars
8/07/08 jcjs33 wonderful fun romp, hilarious, James Franco is great 5 stars
8/06/08 Eloise Carlson It was funny at times, but not what I expected. 3 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman I loved this movie a great deal more than I thought I would, and highly recommend it. 5 stars
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  06-Aug-2008 (R)
  DVD: 06-Jan-2009


  DVD: 06-Jan-2009

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