â€˜Pineapple Express’ is an intelligent comedy that will be the best movie ever if you’re a stoner, and a slightly-better-than-mediocre Judd Aptow comedy if you’re anyone else.
James Franco takes a step outside his film comfort zone as Seth Rogen’s loveable drug dealer Saul Silver. While some may be shocked by Franco’s easy portrayal of the character, those who watched the short-lived Aptow creation â€˜Freaks and Geeks’ will recognize the Daniel Desario in Saul’s sentimental and oblivious personality.
While Franco was the scene stealer of the film, Rogen slipped deeper into the pot-smoking degenerate character he only seems capable of portraying as â€˜Pineapple Express’s Dale Denton. While his crappy job is funny (he delivers court subpoenas), his high school girlfriend and the joint that is constantly in his hand do little to endear himself to the audience, unless the desired effect of his character was pity.
Newcomer Danny McBride’s character Red, Saul’s drug distributor, is funny, but not as quote-worthy as the compared McLovin from â€˜Superbad’. If you want to see him really funny, check out â€˜The Foot-Fist Way’ or this past week’s â€˜Tropic Thunder.’
The most surprising aspect of â€˜Pineapple Express’ was that it actually was action-packed. The over-the-top storyline felt a bit out of place when compared to Aptow’s previous two big films; â€˜Knocked Up’ and â€˜Superbad’, which were well received because of their relatability to the audience. That was â€˜Pineapple Express’s biggest flaw, from its opening scene to its climactic finish: it was completely out of touch with reality. While it was undoubtedly funny throughout the entire movie, â€˜Express’ failed to be a movie that everyone could relate to.
The film starts off when Dale (Rogen) purchases Pineapple Express, the filet mignon of marijuana, from his dealer Saul (Franco). Turns out Franco was the only dealer in town to have that specific drug, which causes problems when Dale drops a joint outside big-time pot distributor Ted Jones’ (Gary Cole) house after he witnesses both Ted and a woman murder an Asian man (the Asians are the competing pot distributors).
As the person who gave Saul the Pineapple Express, he recognizes it and goes after Saul to try to kill him, as he now thinks that Saul and the previously unknown Dale have turned on him and are teamed up with the Asians. Thus ensues numerous car chase scenes and shoot outs and more gunshots-that-don’t-lead-to-deaths than ever before seen in any previous action flick.
While there was one big car chase scene in the middle of the movie that was absolutely fantastic, Aptow should stick more with his realistic comedies than try to create the next â€˜Rush Hour’. It was cool to see Seth Rogen as an action star, and it was clear that both he and Franco were having the times of their lives in their roles, but no one except Franco truly excelled in their roles. Unless you were high while watching the movie, it couldn’t be described as anything more than mediocre.
Judd Aptow seems to be slipping, and â€˜Pineapple Express’ seemed to be little more than a dream project where the studio just let him stick as many joints (definitely more than 20) into a movie as possible. Let’s just hope that with â€˜Year One’, coming 2009, he gets back to his â€˜Superbad’-A-game.