a critiQal film review Pineapple Express (2008)

Plot: Stoner Dale Denton (Rogen) visits his dealer Saul Silver (Franco), and is introduced to a new strain of weed called Pineapple Express. But, when Dale drops his joint after witnessing a murder by a crooked cop (Perez) and a notorious drug lord (Cole), Dale discovers the new strain is so rare it can be traced back to him and Saul. Incredibly, this isn't just a weed-induced delusion, and the two stoners suddenly find themselves running for their lives.

601 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 0s)
  • ...despite James Franco's hilarious stoner impression, this film will likely drift into it's own cloud of smoke, largely forgotten.

With the coming of the new year, there seems to be an influx of movies hitting DVD that we haven’t seen yet. With so many to choose from (, , among them), we were happy to discover we had choices when we visited our local Blockbuster® the other day.

While I wanted to see the Pacino/De Niro starrer , Heather wasn’t that interested. Putting that one off for a week, we settled on Pineapple Express, the hit stoner comedy of the summer. With so many choices, did we make a bad decision, or would Pineapple Express make us roll with laughter?

Seth Rogen stars in Pineapple Express. As the unlikeliest of leading men, he’s an odd choice for romantic comedies like Knocked Up, but seems a better fit in this flick. While he still isn’t exactly a consumate actor, he does a decent job of bumbling his way through the film. True, he seems to forget he’s supposed to be “under the influence” of wacky weed at points, but he’s still decent enough.

James Franco, on the other hand, gives a performance that will probably go down as one of the great stoner performances of all time. While Cheech & Chong hold that distinction, a few actors (Brad Pitt in a hilarious, yet brief, performance in True Romance for example) have managed to stick out as memorable stoners, and James’ performance in Pineapple Express is right up there with the best of them.

Walking through each sequence with a mind that is obviously muddled and fogged by the substances he smokes, Franco’s character gives new meaning to the term “dazed and confused,” and while the audience may pity his idotic ways, they can’t help but laugh at his ridiculous antics (getting his foot stuck in the window of the car he’s driving being one of the most memorable moments). Even his meaningless wandering as he talks provokes laughter, making him the biggest highlight of the film.

When Judd Apatow tapped Seth Rogen to help him write a stoner comedy, they seemed to have a basic idea (2 idiots stumble around while being chased by bad guys) and set about lengthening that one idea into a full-length film. Unfortunately, that idea would have been better if the film had been condensed into a half-hour, rather than it’s nearly 2 hour running time. While about a half-hour of the film is wildly hilarious, by the time the end rolls around, the jokes have gotten very thin, and the laughter has dried up while viewers start checking their watches, impatient for the film to end.

It’s too bad, really, since the Rogen/Franco pairing, so hilarious in the beginning, has started to get a bit annoying by the end of the film, leaving the viewer a bit disappointed by the whole thing. While Franco’s character holds his own, this annoyance stems from Seth Rogen’s rather bland character and the ridiculous inclusion of a near-dead Danny McBride. Top that off with laughable stick figures for villains and too many drawn-out sequences (some of which have no bearing on the movie whatsoever), and by the time the end credits finally roll, Pineapple Express has lost most of it’s charm.

Despite James Franco’s wonderfully hilarious performance, Pineapple Express turns from hilarious stoner comedy into dull tedium way too quickly, and viewers won’t be impressed with the cast (especially an incredibly lackluster performance from Rosie Perez, who viewers expect at least a little effort from), and will pass on another trip aboard the Pineapple Express, much less want to sit through the even longer “Unrated” version of the film included on the DVD.

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