Movie Review: Pineapple Express

Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Written By: Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg [story by Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg]
R; 111 minutes
4 stars (out of 5)


I can't say I'm any fan of the kind of comedy that Rogan and Apatow are best known for; I liked Knocked Up but didn't see in it the kind of masterpiece so many others touted it as being. I didn't bother with Superbad, didn't find Walk Hard funny in the least, and turned off You Don't Mess with the Zohan after about 20 minutes of waiting for it to find some kind of direction.

So my expectations for Pineapple Express weren't particularly high. Which may be exactly why I liked it--simply because I didn't much expect to. But after the rather hilarious skit on Oscar night, I felt like I should see it.

The plot is rote and mundane, but that's not the important part of this movie. It's the characters and their interactions . . . And, yes, the fact that they're high while crazy things are happening does add a certain something. James Franco in particular is the bright spot here; his role as drug-dealer (and habitually high user) Saul steals every scene he's in. And he has good chemistry with Rogan's straight-man character Dale.

Here are the bare bones of the plot: Dale's job is to serve subpoenas, and in the meantime he enjoys getting high. Saul is his dealer. But while out to serve papers one night, Dale witnesses a murder (and a cop is involved with the killing), and with no one else to run to, he goes to Saul. The two of them then light out on a series of capers as they attempt to avoid being cornered by either murderous hitmen or the police. Hilarity ensues.

Secondary to all this is that Dale has a high school girlfriend whose parents he's supposed to meet for the first time at a dinner at her house, etc. This was weak at best, seemingly thrown in only because they felt the need for some love story and/or female role--aside from Rosie Perez, who plays the crooked cop.

Gary Cole (who will always be Satan to me) does an interesting turn as the kingpin behind the murder. I almost wish we'd seen more of his character, and maybe a bit more of Ed Begley, Jr., who plays Girlfriend's Dad to strong comic results.

I give Pineapple Express four stars NOT for originality--it plays out like something that could have come out in the late 80s or any time in the 90s maybe--but for the entertainment factor brought in by good interplay between actors.


Christine said...

This is one of Rogan's movies I haven't seen yet. I sometimes like him and I sometimes don't. Hehehe. Are you thinking American Gothic with Gary Cole? I loved that show.

Manda said...

Yes, Gary Cole will always be Lucas Buck of American Gothic to me, no matter what else he does. Although in life he's a terrifically nice man who works for autism causes.