Movie Review: Pineapple Express
By Brandon Scott
August 6, 2008
Pineapple Express, like the title of its rare breed of totally killer weed, is lost in its own high. This is an action-comedy that has tons of action but very little to laugh at. Seth Rogen stars as process server and pot-head Dale Denton. In an out-of-the-blue comedic turn, James Franco is his dope dealer Saul. When Dale witnesses a murder and the killers notice him, he flees in a pot-induced panic tossing a roach at the scene of the crime. Dale high-tails it for Saul's to see whether or not this rare breed of weed is so exclusive that it can be traced back to Saul. Of course it can. That kicks off a set of events that puts Dale and Saul on the run for their lives. In a summer loaded with comic-book movies, there is more comic-book violence in this than there is in Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and The Dark Knight combined.
Once the premise is set, the chase is on. Dale and Saul look for help in all the wrong places, including enlisting their friend Red (Danny McBride) and Dale's high school girlfriend Angie as accomplices to their salvation. There are warring factions of drug lords that catch the guys in the middle and only the weed can calm them down. Blunts are smoked, punches are thrown and bullets fly as Express chugs towards a preposterous climax. This film can't make up its mind what it is. It seems to try to play like Midnight Run but it's much more Half-Baked.
There is extreme violence and all kinds of absurdity throughout, and while that serves as the point of the picture, it's ineffective. It's supposed to be campy and ridiculous and it is...it's just not enjoyable. There are inconsistencies throughout. While some actors, Rogen and Franco among them, seem to be playing it more forward and straight, others are way beyond over-the-top. The film simply does not work. There is absolutely no resolution to a plot situation involving Angie and her family and it's a head-scratcher even the most stoned won't be able to overlook. The only logical explanation is that the filmmakers were high when they shot, wrote and edited this and they passed the dutchie to the left hand side to the studio heads, so they ignored it too.
When you discover that Pineapple Express is directed by indy-vet David Gordon Green, writer and director of Snow Angels and All the Real Girls, feel free to check to see if you're being Punk'd. Ashton is nowhere near this good. The denouement of the film essentially serves as a recap that highlights the majority of the film's lowlights in a three-minute conversation. To think that the guy that made George Washington is behind this mess shows what can happen when someone wants to take their shot at the mainstream with the wrong vehicle. In this case, it went up in smoke.
With a hot name like Judd Apatow producing, an eclectic cast willingly jumps on board. Office Space's Gary Cole plays drug kingpin Ted Jones. Rosie Perez rises from the ashes to play his aid as a corrupt cop here, but she should have stayed buried, it would have done her career more justice. Also, be on the lookout for a cameo from Ed Begley Jr. as an impatient, shotgun-toting father to Angie. He does one of the best jobs in the film.