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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 Lybarger

"Even abstainers will get munchies."
4 stars

“Pineapple Express” is a stoner comedy for viewers who haven’t fried what’s left of their gray cells.

It’s a strangely effective combination of crude wisecracks and solid action sequences. Director David Gordon Green, who’s responsible for dreamlike and moody films like “George Washington” and “Undertow,” completely changes gears with this one and still manages to satisfy. It’s as if Cheech and Chong reached a career peak by incorporating a lost manuscript from Henrik Ibsen and neither artist was tainted in the process.

Producer Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”) has made a career out telling vulgar but endearing stories, and his fingerprints are all over the new film. Written by Apatow protégés Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (the duo behind “Superbad”), “Pineapple Express” effortlessly alternates between the giddy euphoria of a good bong hit and the nightmarish consequences of crossing the merchants who made that hit possible.

Rogen plays Dale Denton, a process server who somehow manages to correctly deliver subpoenas even though he tokes behind the wheel.

Dale’s decision making is clearly affected by the weed. Although he’s in his mid-20s, he’s dating a high schooler (Amber Heard).

To be fair, Dale seems like a model of rectitude and coherence compared to his marijuana supplier, Saul (James Franco). Saul has become such a connoisseur of ganja that he has difficulty completing sentences.

When he does speak, his enthusiasm for his product results in bizarre malapropisms. He laments that lighting his special “cross” joint fills him with guilt because it’s like “killing a unicorn” and the smell of one grade of weed he sells reminds him of “God’s vagina.”

To his credit, Saul is the only dealer in Los Angeles who peddles an especially potent strain called “Pineapple Express,” which is named after strong storms that hit the Pacific coast.

Dale gladly shells out the cash, but regrets using it when he makes the mistake of toking it on another delivery run. He witnesses his target, drug lord Ted Jones (Gary Cole), killing a man.

Dale hurriedly leaves the scene but drops his joint near the one man who knows it’s not ordinary cannabis. This makes both him and Saul subject to Jones’ wrath. The two can’t go to the cops because a uniformed officer (Rosie Perez) is in on the crime.

Much of the humor comes from Dale and Saul’s attempts to get through an already deadly situation with under a haze of reefer. Rogen and Franco shift from incoherence, to paranoia, to aptly justified panic effortlessly. Despite Dale’s pronounced eccentricities, he’s a straight man to Franco’s inspired turn as Saul.

It’s the most engaging turn the actor has had in years, and he manages to make Saul as weirdly loveable as he is dazed. He may be the most generous and sensitive pot seller in screen history.

The chemistry between the two is fun, but Rogen and Goldberg also create memorable supporting players including Danny McBride as an untrustworthy supplier named “Red” and Craig Robinson as a ruthless enforcer.

The two also write a side-splitting black-and-white prologue where government experiments with joints go terribly wrong.

While the laughs are plentiful, what makes “Pineapple Express” enjoyable to sober viewers is that Green fills the story with a sense of genuine danger. Despite the film’s meager budget, the car chases are impressive, and gunplay that doesn’t kill results in horrific injuries. Because the obstacles Dale and Saul face seem convincing, it’s easier to hope they extricate themselves from the situation.

Green’s meandering but mesmerizing independent movies would make him an odd choice to handle a mainstream comedy. Nonetheless, it’s not selling out if the new film leaves viewers as intoxicated as Saul’s customers.

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originally posted: 08/06/08 14:01:34
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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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