Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pineapple Express (2008)

Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, et al
Rated R, 111 minutes

I was turned off to seeing any more "pot comedies" after I sat down to "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle." If that was what I could expect from one of these movies - mildly funny screwball antics held together with a chewing gum-quality structure - then I'd seen enough. When my girlfriend brought home "Pineapple Express," I reminded myself it was from Judd Apatow, and might have more to offer.

Indeed, this movie did have more going on for it. The events were still wacky, but they occurred much more organically. This movie was more down to earth because the relationships between characters were on point. It also had the blunt (pardon the pun) Seth Rogen-written humor I loved in "Superbad," with equally good (or better) delivery from Seth himself.

Seth Rogen plays Dale Denton, a process server who gives out subpoenas in disguise. With such a "demanding" job, he indulges in pot and talk radio throughout the day. After buying a rare marijuana called "Pineapple Express" from his dealer Saul (Franco), he witnesses a murder. The killers are a crooked cop (Perez) and a drug lord, Ted Jones (Cole). The victim was from a competing drug gang. Ted recognizes the roach deposited by Dale outside, and can trace it back to Saul. So he and Dale flee town...high. Cue the car chases, gun play and explosions. And the pot smoke.

James Franco wasn't the greatest, but he wasn't as out of place as I thought he'd be.
Ed Begley Jr. was one of those celebrity "HE'S in THAT role?!?" castings that actually worked for me. He played the angry father of Dale's girlfriend. Generally, those type of actor and role marriages dominate the trailer and early hype, and it's ruined before you can see it. But this one was not, and I enjoyed it. Also, Bill Hader continues to earn awesome points in my book. He was in the opening scene, and did a bang up job as usual.


It was tough to rate this one. Solely on jokes and moments that made laugh, there were enough good ones in "Pineapple Express" to warrant a repeat viewing.

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