The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Pineapple Express

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Judy Thorburn

"Pineapple Express" - Doesn't Qualify for a 'High' Rating

 

 

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In Pineapple Express, a buddy comedy aimed at stoners (pot smoking audiences), Seth Rogan and James Franco team up as Dale Denton, a pot smoking process server, and Saul Silver, his stoner, drug dealer, who are forced to go on the run after Dale witnesses a murder. With Judd Apatow, the king of mindless, gross out, immature comedies as the producer, I knew what I was in for. In simple terms, for this movie reviewer, that translates to another offensive movie I had to sit through.

It all starts when Dale (Rogan) visits Saul (Franco) a weekly endeavor, to buy some weed and is given a hit of Pineapple Express, a rare and highly potent form of marijuana. Saul agrees to sell some to Dale because he likes him. But, that turns out to be an unfortunate move that winds up getting them both in a whole lot of trouble.

While waiting outside Ted Jones’ (Gary Cole) apartment before serving him with a subpoena, Dale witnesses a murder being committed by the drug lord and his girlfriend, a crooked cop (Rosie Perez). In a mad hurry to get away after being spotted in his car, Dale leaves behind a joint that Jones soon discovers and is able to trace back to Saul. And so begins the cat and mouse chase when Jones sends two of his henchmen after Dale and Saul who find themselves in one stoned mis-adventure after another while trying to stay one step ahead of the goons.

When not engaged in some weird male bonding, Dale and Saul become involved in several violent and bloody predicaments. There is a fight with Saul’s buddy turned traitor, Red (Danny McBride), Dale’s nasty encounter with his teenage girlfriend Angie’s (Amber Heard) parents (Ed Begley, Jr. and Nora Dunn), along with a car chase, explosions, a stabbing, and gun fighting. For a movie that is supposed to be a comedy, there are way too many graphically violent sequences where characters get their head smashed, groin kicked, and a few are mutilated and/or dismembered. One such scene has Dale losing part of his ear. Excuuuse me, if I don’t think that’s funny. Nor, do I think it necessary for every character, including a preteen, to drop f-bombs or run their mouth off with other expletives.

On the positive side, the conservative looking, stressed out Rogan and Franco, as the long haired, more laid back hippie, have some cool chemistry and play off each other very well. Franco who started his career as a dramatic actor (Spiderman) and young heart throb (he portrayed James Dean in a TV biopic) is a big surprise. He’s quite a talented and versatile actor who proves he has range and can handle drama as well as comedy. Coming off as in a perpetual buzzed state, Franco is pleasantly amusing as the affable fellow who loves his “bubby” (Jewish Grandma), and steals every scene in Pineapple Express.

Don’t be getting the idea that I find the subject matter offensive. On the contrary, I am a big fan of Cheech and Chong’s 70’s stoner movies such as Up in Smoke. They were funny, as are the more recent Harold and Kumar episodes that had me laughing out loud.

Pineapple Express, on the other hand, while the premise has promise, the movie fails in its execution. Too long, too violent, too vulgar and short on genuine laugh provoking antics or dialogue, I can’t possibly give it a “high” rating.