Pineapple Express

Seth Rogen is pretty much the go-to guy for comedy these days. He normally brings 110% to the scripts that he helps to write, and he has also starred in (and wrote) some of the funniest films of all time. I am happy to report that Pineapple Express is another solid entry on Rogen’s resume, but it could have been better. This movie is being hailed as “The Godfather of stoner comedies.”  I don’t think that is true, but it is a still a great film.

The plot centers around Rogen’s character, lazy stoner Dale Denton, who, as a process server, has lots of time to sit around and smoke weed “on the job”. He visits his dealer Saul (James Franco), who sells Dale on this rare strain of weed called “Pineapple Express”. That same night, Dale accidentally witnesses the dealer and crooked cop committing a murder, whereupon Dale throws the P.E. out the window.  Unfortunately, the bad guys find it, and all hell breaks loose.

The best thing about Pineapple Express, surprisingly, is not Rogen but James Franco. I had no idea he could be so funny, having gotten used to his rather leaden performances as Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man films.  I think that he should definitely do more comic roles, as he was brilliant in this.  The supporting actors, who were fantastically cast, includes Danny McBride, Gary Cole, and Rosie Perez, and they all shined (especially McBride, who I think has a definite future as a comedy star, having also seen him in last year’s Hot Rod, also one of the best “stupid” films ever).

However, this movie does have its down points. Director David Gordon Green, who has been primarily an indie film director until this one, has a style that is a little too manic for my tastes. It was valiant effort, but it got a little tiring.  The action sequences were kind of cool, but pretty dumb (and I don’t mean that in a good way this time). In my opinion, Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg tried a little too hard blend together multiple genres. This movie works best as a stoner comedy, with eccentric characters and great one-liners, but lost some of its allure with the action sequences (and the wholly unnecessary subplot with Dale and his high school girlfriend).

Overall, though, Pineapple Express was another good comedy for fans of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. It has all the staples that have made them both household names.  It wasn’t quite as funny or entertaining as previous efforts such as Superbad, Knocked Up and The 40-Year Old Virgin, but if you’re looking for a decent comedy this will fill your needs.  If, on the other hand, you are looking for a comic masterpiece, then you consider yourself served.

4 / 5 stars  

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