Pineapple Express is a comedy that could best be defined as having the combined styles of stoners Cheech and Chong and badass action guys Jackie Chan and Steven Seagal. This action filled buddy flick is hampered by a slow start and cheap jokes but is graced with a brilliant luster that can sometimes sparkle very brightly.
It’s a movie about two potheads: Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) and Saul Silver (James Franco). Dale is a process server who loves to get stoned and Saul is a good natured, hippie-like pot dealer that Dale gets his marijuana from. One fine day, Saul gets a shipment of some special pot and sells it to Dale right before Dale goes to serve a warrant to a rich and powerful drug lord, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Just as he’s about to get out of his car to serve the paperwork, he witnesses a murder performed by a female cop (Rosie Perez) and Mr. Jones. In his haste, Dale drops some of his stash as he tries to flee the situation. But through unusual investigative techniques (which includes following the trail of this “heavenly” pot), Mr. Jones and crew quickly conclude that Saul is Dale’s dealer. Realizing they’re both in danger, Dale and Saul take off in an effort to stay alive.
Pineapple Express is, at times, hysterical, but writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Judd Apatow couldn’t avoid throwing in those cheap, overused, adolescent jokes that they’ve used in every other movie they’ve been a part of (they even use the over done “looks like gay sex from a distance” scene). These early attempts make the movie amateurish, uneven and badly timed. But as the movie progresses, it picks up a head of steam and hurls itself to the other side of comedy, with lines that made me explode with laughter (there are plenty of memorable quotes to quote). These aren’t that sissy in your nose kind of laughter one keeps to herself because it isn’t worth sharing; I’m talking about laughter that wells up so quickly, you have to let it go or risk having your gut burst open. A great deal of the aforementioned stomach ripping laughter came during “I can’t believe they just did that” moments (Rosie Perez getting kicked in the crotch is just one example of many).
This film also proves the rule that comedy is just drama sped up! More than once I wanted to look away from the screen but I could not pull my attention away. And it’s not just because of the hilarity of it all, it’s because Pineapple Express is jam packed with a sickening amount of unexpected violence and action. What is even more unexpected about it was the action itself is really quite good. Who knew a stoner film could carry such action so well!
The push-pull of timing made watching the movie exhausting and sometimes annoying but overall, I ended up having a great time. Even though I wouldn’t rush back to see Pineapple Express again and again, I can easily recommend a viewing if you’re in need of a half an hour of really, really good laughs.