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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Review: PINEAPPLE EXPRESS




Lets get to it. Pineapple Express. The most highly anticipated film of the summer for people who like Judd Apatow, Weed, Seth Rogen, Actions, and Comedy. Trust me, Pineapple Express fulfills all those desires. Reuniting for the first time since the short lived television series "Freaks and Geeks" (1999), Seth Rogen and James Franco pair up for the first time on the big screen, and Franco reminds the world that he can be funny as hell if people let him be.

(Spoilers May Occur, but not Major ones)
The film starts off in a World War II era where a unit of the military is deciding if Marijuana should be legal or not, and after an interview with Private Miller (Bill Hader) it is decided that the drug will be permanently illegal. Flash forward to the future, where Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) a process server with an 18 year old high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) drives over to his drug dealers house to get a new batch of weed. The drug dealer is none other than Saul Silver (James Franco), who sells Dale some rare weed, Pineapple Express, because he desperately wants to be friends with him. The weed is so rare in fact that Saul is the only one who has it.

Long story short, Dale witnesses a murder, drops his joint on the scene, and since the weed is so rare, the biggest drug dealer around (Gary Cole) sends his two hit-men (Craig Robinson & Peter Lewis) after him, believing he is working with the other drug lords known simply as 'The Asians.'

Hilarity and non-stop action ensues.

(Spoilers End Here)

The film is successful in every aspect it sets out on, though the relationship between (Gary Cole) and crooked cop (Rosie Perez) is very weak and remains questionable and undeveloped. Seth Rogen plays the same character as always, a delightful stoner, who pulls through in the end, but is is fun as ever to watch him and his improvisational talents. James Franco delivers an excellent performance, full of comedy and wit, and you feel each emotion he throws at you. Of the two leads, Saul Silver is the easiest to identify with.

Danny McBride, new Apatow regular since Drillbit Taylor, plays Red, another drug dealer, who is very much like Fogell from Superbad. He steals the show every scene he is in, but the character has way to much spirit for the way he is treated. However, this always creates a laugh, because he reminds me of the role of Mustafa from Austin Powers (The role that started Will Ferrell's career), in that whatever happens to him he is always alright.
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Its nice to see Craig Robinson in a larger role than he has on NBC's "The Office" and that he had in "Knocked Up." The role he creates is hilarious and it can be seen that he created much more for his character than was written in the script.

Essentially this is the exact same script as 2007's "Superbad," also written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but if you replace the alcohol with weed, Cops for Drug Lords, then you have the same movie down to the last shot in the action. But Pineapple Express has more layers of jokes, which will probably lead to a more re-watch-able DVD.

Joe Lo Truglio (The Creepy Guy at the Party in Superbad) has a delightful cameo as Angie's Teacher in the high school, while Ken Jeong (The Gynecologist in Knocked Up) plays the head assassin for the Asians, which was another nice surprise.

The budget is the highest of Apatow's, probably even higher than "Walk Hard" , and it shows. Each action scene gets better and builds on the last, and when it comes to directorial style, no one makes this film better than David Gordon Green.


Pineapple Express hits theaters this August.
3 stars

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