Thursday, 01 October 2020
Pineapple Express
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 14 August 2008 00:00
ThumbnailAfter several years of being the reigning comedy genius to which I compared all others in the genre, the day has finally arrived when I say to Judd Apatow “That movie was a mess.” And that movie, my friends, is Pineapple Express. I will admit that I had high expectations (forgive the pun) for this stoner comedy, especially after the Harold and Kumar sequel turned out to be a bit of a dud. Pineapple Express looked like it could be one of summers’ coolest movies, but turned into a bad trip.
Seth Rogen plays Dale Denton, a slacker who’s still living life like he’s still in high school – or at least the high part. He delivers court summons for a living but is in arrested development and wants nothing more than to smoke pot all day in his car. His eighteen-year-old girlfriend seems to be his intellectual equal, so I guess at least he is only robbing the cradle on a physical level. They’ve been dating three months – he’s insanely jealous of the guys at her school and she wants him to come home and meet the parents who seem remarkably cool about the age difference. I thought this whole storyline was mildly disturbing, but that’s beside the point.
Dale’s dealer, Saul (James Franco) is a free-spirited deadbeat who takes great pleasure out of the small things in life, like smoking weed while watching “227” reruns. All the same, he’s a little lonely and seems to latch on to Dale in a lost puppy sort of way, even sharing with him some rare weed (the titular Pineapple Express). The two get in way over their heads when Dale witnesses a murder and leaves a clue that allows the killers to trace him back to Saul, forcing them to go on the lam until they can find someone who will help them. The two fall in with another stoner named Red (Danny McBride) who betrays them every chance he gets. Between the three of them they might just have enough remaining brain cells to muddle through, if they can keep from killing each other first.
ThumbnailPineapple Express starts out promising – no, more than promising; it starts out really strong. In fact the first half of the movie was interesting, and funny in a lowbrow sort of way and you get attached to these two useless characters. Rogen and Franco suit their roles perfectly and bring an easy chemistry left over from the set of Freaks and Geeks, the now cult-classic TV show that brought many of the Apatow gang together back in the 90’s. I always liked Seth Rogen’s lackluster charm and crude wit, but Franco is the real standout here. His uncharacteristic role as the drug dealer with a sweet-natured innocence is truly memorable.

But for all the great moments this film has to offer there are an equal or larger number that made me want to duct tape my eyes and ears shut. It starts to fall apart in the second half, but really goes sour when it turns into an all out action movie complete with explosions and gun toting. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the idea of mixing the two genres and creating something unique and cool, but this just turns into a ridiculous mess. I think things might have been different had the movie been a bit shorter, or had anyone bothered writing a proper ending for the script. Instead, it fizzles out in a spurt of improvised dialogue and a lame rehashing of events.