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Pineapple Express Movie Review: Thumbs up?

Aug 11, 2008
In the tradition of your best lovable buddies, Cheech & Chong, Reyn and Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead, Pinky and the Brain, comes "Pineapple Express," a stoner comedy that partakes of the lovable comaradarie that buddies share, not to mention a few bong hits, before hitting the hard stuff for a major John Woo action-style blowup.

If you think you've seen this movie before, you probably have caught its multiple inspirations. It was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who took their own adolescent antics and gave us "Superbad," a charming smutfest about three hormonally freaked-out teenage boys. In some respects "Pineapple Express" plays out like the follow up to but a nastier version of the previous shoot em up, growing up, "Super Bad."

Rogen plays Dale Denton, a process server who eases the tension of serving subpoenas upon unsuspecting victims by being stoned as much as possible. Throughout the early moments of the film we see Dale dressing in a variety of costumes as he carries out his job serving folks subpoenas, divorce papers and other varieties of unwanted legal documents. It is an early source for comedy and it is used wisely and sparingly. His final drop for the night is with a man named Ted (Gary Cole) who ironically turns out to be Saul's bud supplier. The thing is Saul's bud is so potent and special, that it can easily be traced back to the user.

So when Dale is the only witness to a murder in Ted's living room involving a crooked cop, Ted and brains splattered all over the window he forgets his delivery and high-tails it out of there. In "Pineapple Express," as it happens, the getting of the ultimate joint is never as thorny as the disposing of it. In his haste to leave the scene he is seen and his abandoned roach becomes a link back to Saul as Ted recognizes the strain he sold Saul, and Saul alone. Saul's revered pineapple express is so rare, remember, that it is easily traceable back to its smoker.

This becomes a vexing issue for Dale when he leaves a roach behind at the scene of a crime he has just witnessed, the murder of an Asian crime boss at the hands of a corrupt cop ( Rosie Perez) and her drug lord lover (Gary Cole). Our boys are on the run and our film has a plot.

Finding himself a gangland target, Dale efficiently implicates his high-school-aged girlfriend Angie (Amber Heard), her parents ( Ed Begley Jr. and Nora Dunn) and the epically out-of-it Saul.

The strange thing about the film though is when they called it an action comedy, they weren't kidding. While the action is mostly played for laughs, it's also cool on its own, and pretty hardcore, make no mistake this is a hard R movie. For example remember that scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman and Vivaca Fox turn her living room into dust. There's a scene like that in Pineapple Express, at the house of a nigh indestructible drug middle man named Red who damn near steals the movie, except that the fight spirals out into different rooms onto different floors escalating in madness until a pitch perfect beat involving a bathroom sink threatens to cause you to herniated with laughter and squirm in your seat at the same time.

Taking producer and story credit roles is Judd Apatow, a man that after 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up could do no wrong. Then after he produced Superbad it seemed there was no failing. Raunchy humor seemed to be the big appeal. The thing is dick and fart jokes are starting to wear on audiences just as did torture porn... and quickly.

People will enjoy this film, it isn't a movie anyone should really walk out of disappointed. The finale pretty much guarantees you should walk away happy as it is easily the best part of the production, but that doesn't mean its early faults should be overlooked. The film had alot of media and build up since last year, so there should be alot of audience for the film, but it will be interesting to see if it will rise up to any kind of critical acclaim that "Knocked Up" and "The Forty Year Old Virgin" received. Overall, the movie is average, and if you've had a little of your own pineapple express before seeing the movie, then you should enjoy it just fine.
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