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This film is the perfect example of what happens when you take an average script and put it in the hands of a phenomenal director. "Pineapple Express" is the latest flick to roll along from that merry band of gentlemen at the Apatow camp. It seems like they churn out a film every week these days and Apatow is either writing them, producing them, or occasionally, directing them. He is without a doubt the current 'King of Comedy' in Hollywood, and his films will probably rack up more dough collectively this year than any other producer working in the business. As a director, Apatow has delivered the goods with both "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up". As a writer, he has been equally successful with "Walk Hard" and "You Don't Mess With the Zohan". As a producer, he has had the most success with "Superbad", "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Step Brothers". Now comes "Pineapple Express", which Apatow co-wrote and producer. And, low and behold, this is probably the best project he's been involved with since "Superbad". It's quite possibly the best stoner film ever made and one of the funniest features to come out this year or any other.
In two phenomenal comedic performances, Seth Rogen stars as Dale and James Franco as his drug dealer, Saul. One evening, Dale is getting stoned when he witnesses two people (Gary Cole & Rosie Perez) shoot an Asian man in the back of the head. Through an odd series of events, they figure out who Dale and Saul are the chase begins! Dale and Saul's paranoia is what makes them aware of the problem and they set out to their friend Red's (Danny R. McBride) house, though he does not greet them with open arms. Most of the film involves Dale and Saul on the run from the bad guys, taking a moment or two to stop and get stoned or sell their stash to a group of junior high school students, or deal with Dale's girlfriend, who also happens to be in high school. What makes the film work is the delicious screenplay, the spot-on direction from the incredible David Gordon Green and the most inventive use of supporting characters I have seen in ages and ages. "Pineapple Express" is a comedy that should be taught in film classes across the country. It should be studied for timing and execution and Ed Begley, Jr. brought in as a guest lecturer on how to make the most of a five minute role. "Pineapple Express" is, simply put, bust-a-gut, laugh-your-ass-off funny.
Let's start out with the direction. Most people know David Gordon Green as the brains behind super art house films like "George Washington", "All the Real Girls" and "Undertow". He is one of the most respected names in independent cinema, so when it was announced he would be hitting the mainstream with Apatow, there were some looks of confusion. Rest assured that Green does not relinquish any of his independent roots. He actually takes a mainstream comedy and inserts it with everything that makes independent film so quirky and creative. This is the most independent big budget comedy to come around in a long time. The action is taken as seriously as possible and is almost Tarantino-esque in the way it is handled. Green doesn't skimp on the violence and he does not hesitate from showing blood and guts when necessary. But, Green also has a flair for comedy on screen and he knows how to let the actors and the dialog do all the work without fancy camera tricks or those 'directorial trademarks' that sometimes take away from the humor. This film will likely turn Green into a hot commodity, but I think he will probably be content sticking with his usual brand of minimalistic film making. And, kudos to Judd Apatow for helping to pen a script that just keeps assuring us of his standing as one of the strongest writers in the business today. Of course, most of the script came courtesy of Rogen & Evan Goldberg and they are on a roll these days too it seems. They just all seem so comfortable working with one another.
The truth of the matter is - I can't think of a single negative thing about this film. Seth Rogen and James Franco are absolutely fantastic here, and I will be the first to admit I have never been a big James Franco fan. He hits every note here. Craig Robinson almost steals the show, as far as I am concerned, as the henchman, Matheson; but it is Danny R. McBride, as Red, who makes every scene worth watching. Since "The Foot Fist Way", McBride has slowly been building his resume and is now one of the most sought after comedic character actors in the game. This recognition is much deserved because the man just simply knows how to make dialog funny. Ed Begley, Jr. pops up in a very small supporting role but rules the moment with it every step of the way. Gary Cole and Rosie Perez make nice villains and Bill Hader even pops up in a cameo. All of the performances here are solid, and I guess that is what happens when you have actors who are working with such a competent director whom I am sure they all had complete faith in every step of the way.
I really cannot describe how much I loved "Pineapple Express", at least not accurately enough. This was the film I had been waiting for all Summer long, but I just didn't know it. The film is doing well at the box office, but it deserves to be doing so much better. Apatow & Co. are on a roll and continue to keep their level at the highest mark possible. So, if you're sick and tired of hearing about Batman and you don't really care about the latest George Lucas abortion, I encourage you to head to your local theatre and catch an independent heart in a mainstream body - one of the finest examples of direction that I have seen in ages and a firm testament to the staying power Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Judd Apatow and everyone else associated with this gem. "Pineapple Express" is one of the best films of the year, and one of the best comedies I have ever seen.
Though it may come as no surprise to most anyone, I truly haven't been doing my duty as a reviewer, lately. Between work, friends, video games and Helicopter Girl I just haven't had time to review all of the films I've seen in theatres lately. Sure, I've been fooling myself with the old "Oh, geez, it's in theatres, Billy Ray or Chad will probably see it...", but that attitude has cost this site reviews of such comical gems as "Step Brothers" and "Get Smart". Well, damn it, I'm not going to let this piece of gold fall through the cracks, as well.
Review by Ginose
Added: August 16, 2008
Dale Denton is a process clerk (he delivers court orders, duh) for a large company and makes good of his day by doing his easy work-load and smoking gratuitous amounts of marijuana while on the job. Dale's dealer, Saul Silver, is very fond of Dale's company and is doing his best to become friends with him, no matter how reluctant he seems to be. One night, after purchasing a rare batch of weed known as "Pineapple Express" (named so because of the way some dirt mixes with it while it's carried to... it's very scientific, okay?), Dale witnesses one of his orders kill a man in the window of his condo in the company of a cop (who even aids in the execution); panicking, Dale drives off in a hurry, leaving his roach behind. Returning to Saul's he discovers that his order just so happened to be the provider of Saul's weed, meaning that the single roach he left there would be enough to trace to Saul and, inevitably, himself. Quickly gathering Saul (and the weed) Dale takes off, doing his best to avoid the cops (and almost anyone else) until he can find a way out of his pickle.
"Pineapple Express" is one of the best comedies I've seen in years upon years... possibly one of the most well-balanced movies I've seen. Period. The flow between action and comedy was so smooth it almost felt natural, I found that particularly impressive from an Apatow Company movie, as there style has been defined far too well in their last ventures with "Step Brothers" and "Super Bad", so this really felt like a whole new type of movies from these guys.
Aside from the dead-on believable performances from most of the cast (and, let me tell you, that's hardly ordinary in comedies, these days), there's a real sense of wit in the writing that makes the dialogue seem remarkably natural. Those were just some treats to go with the amazing movie that held them.
A major seller for me was the promise of an action scene every few minutes. It was a morbid curiosity, really, because I just didn't think there could be a way to make a movie that was (in its soul) a comedy and still hook a lot of plot-relevant action, too. Well, shit the bed, because this movie gave me so much action I thought I was going to have a nose-bleed. A fight here, a car-chase there... not to mention the few amazing gun-fights that show up; they were all truly superb in both plot and technique.
All in all, I can't really find a single reason that anyone could know the plot of this movie before going in and still be disappointed. I mean, if you didn't know what you were going to see, I could understand you being taken aback, but this movie really gave me everything I wanted and then some. Here's to the next project these boys have cookin', but it's going to be mighty hard to top this.
- added 08/16/2008, 08:27 PM
I think I only laughed out loud 2 or 3 times
while watching this. But that doesn't mean it's
not funny. The movie was better than I thought,
and definitely something I would watch time and
time again. I would consider this one of my
"safe zone" movies. That is something I
can just pop in at anytime and enjoy it. I don't
have to think about the movie to understand it, it
just one of those movies that is perfect for any
occasion like Anchorman or 40 Year Old
Virgin..etc. I would give this one a 9/10.
Definitely going to buy the DVD when it hits
- added 08/17/2008, 11:27 AM
I think this tried to be more of a serious comedy
compared to other films of the Apatow nature.
David Gordon Green needs alot more respect in the
movie making category. 10/10
- added 08/17/2008, 11:32 AM
i really liked this one, but seth rogen sucks. he
was playing the straight man, but even still,
nothing he said or did made me laugh once. every
other person in the movie was killing - even
fucking rosie perez. fuck seth rogen. i'm aware he
wrote the movie, but that means he should stay the
fuck behind the camera. aside from that, danny
mcbride is possibly one of the funniest people in
movies at the moment, and they need to tell all
the shitty apatow guys (rogen, baruchel, hill, et
al.) to eat shit and let mcbride have every single
one of their roles. brilliant. franco was great,
and i wish gary cole had more scenes as well. all
around very enjoyable.
- added 08/17/2008, 02:17 PM
When Seth was writing the story, he actually
wrote the part of Saul for himself. But after
auditions, he noticed that James did a fantastic
job and gave the part to him. Thank god for that,
the movie wouldn't be half as good with Seth as
Saul as far as I'm concerned.
- added 08/18/2008, 06:47 PM
Totally should have commented on this after I got
home, but forgot for some reason. Anyway, probably
the best experience I've had with a comedy this
year. I say probably, because I'm sure I've seen
something else and it's slipping my mind at the
moment. There wasn't a dull moment in this movie,
and even though I despise drug comedy, this still
managed to keep me entertained the entire time.
And like Vash said, Danny McBride is the fucking
balls right now. That man can do no wrong. 10/10
- added 08/19/2008, 11:58 PM
Def. a great summer for comedic movies. 10/10
grain of sand
- added 09/04/2008, 04:02 PM
I agree on the "safe zone" movie
comment made earlier, I loved this movie and
laughed throughout it's entire running time but
don't remember reeally laughing out loud except a
One of my favorite comedies in
quite some time, not because I'm an avid stoner
myself, but because this gave me the kind of
feeling I want while watching a comedy.. Almost
- added 01/19/2009, 10:31 PM
One of the only good films with Seth Rogen in it.
I actually like him in this role.
- added 07/12/2010, 01:06 AM
I know a few people that do not like this and it
confuses me everytime when they tell me it as I
force feed them a shovel in their mouth. 9/10