Review: Pineapple Express
Plot: When not getting high, Dale Denton (Seth Rogan) works as a process server. One night, while delivering a subpoena, Dale accidentally witnesses a murder by drug lord Ted Jones (Gary Cole) & his crooked cop henchwoman (Rosie Perez). Dale makes the mistake of ditching his joint at the crime scene. Turns out- Dale's been smoking the rare Pineapple Express strain, which leads Ted & his cronies back to Dale & his supplier, Saul (James Franco).
Review: Chalk up another win for Judd Apatow & co. THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is easily on par with their previous smash hits- THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, KNOCKED UP & SUPERBAD. I like the fact that this time out, the Apatow gang cooked up something a little different. Rather than give us another relationship or coming of age comedy, we get a weed action flick. Sweet.
When I first heard that THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS was going to be, essentially a comedy/ action hybrid- I was a bit taken a back. I love Apatow, & Rogen as much as anyone- but an action flick? When David Gordon Green signed on to direct the film, I was even more confused. Green is an art film director. While a lot of his films have humor in them, they're like modern day Terrence Malick films. What the heck is he doing directing a weed action comedy?
I should have known better- as THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is the best comedy I've seen so far this summer (although to be fair I still haven't seen TROPIC THUNDER). Following up his star turn in KNOCKED UP Rogen once again proves that he's got what it takes to be a leading man. He's funny as hell in this movie. I particularly loved the stuff with him, and his teenage girlfriend (Mandy Lane herself - Amber Heard). Also, to my utter amazement, he actually handles the action part of the film fairly well, which bodes well for his upcoming GREEN HORNET movie.
For me, the big surprise of the film (other than the fact that David Gordon Green can direct the shit out of a weed action/ comedy) has to be James Franco. I loved Franco on FREAKS & GEEKS, and I also thought he was brilliant as JAMES DEAN, in that under seen cable flick. Since then, he's turned up in tons of movies- but to be honest, I haven't really been blown away by any of his subsequent work until now. I had no idea Franco had such great comic chops and he really steals the show. I loved his character in the film, and I was surprised by how much heart he put into the role. The thing that's interesting in the relationship between Saul & Dale is that Dale can't stand Saul. All he wants from him is weed whereas Saul actually views Dale as his friend, and wants to hang out with him. I really liked Franco is this and I hope he does more comedy.
That said, as good as Rogan & Franco are in the film the real star of the show is Danny McBride. McBride plays Franco's supplier Red, and he steals every single scene he's in. McBride is one of those guys that's suddenly in everything, and for awhile I didn't see what all the hype was about. Then I saw THE FOOT FIST WAY. With that film, and now this, I truly believe that McBride is a superstar in the making. I think this will be a real breakout role for him. I don't want to givce too much away about his character- other than the fact that if you're going to screw with drug dealers, he's not a bad guy to have in your corner.
I also loved the fact that, at heart THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is actually an eighties buddy comedy. It reminded me a lot of films like BEVERLY HILLS COP, STAKEOUT, & especially TANGO & CASH and I dug the fact that the score by Graeme Revell sounded like it could have been a lost Harold Faltermeyer score from 1987 (complete with cheesy synth riffs & a theme song by Huey Lewis & the MOTHERF'ING News!). Probably the only thing that disappointed me about the soundtrack is that they didn't include that great MIA song (Paper Planes) that plays in the trailer. Oh well.
THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is yet more comedy gold from Judd Apatow (this & FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL were so good that as far as I'm concerned- DRILLBIT TAYLOR doesn't exist). I think the film is going to be another smash hit for the gang- and I can't wait to see what they cook up next!