You’d think I’d be getting tired of Judd Apatow movies by now. Well, I suppose some people are. Apparently, I’m not. And I’m no stoner by any stretch of the imagination, but “Pineapple Express” is funny.
Dale Denton, 25 year old process server, doesn’t aspire to very much except dating his high school girlfriend, smoking lots of weed, and maybe becoming a talk show radio host “someday.” While in his car lighting one up before he serves his last subpoena to a guy named Tony Jones, he witnesses a man being shot – by Tony. He freaks and Tony sees him, so Dale goes to his dealer’s house, an epic stoner by the name of Saul Silver. And thus begins an absurd and often frenetic adventure comprising these two potheads and their quest to avoid being killed by Tony, his cohorts, and the police.
Parts of this play like a madcap comedy from the 1930’s, except with stoners. I have to say, Seth Rogan is just a likable guy. As Dale, you see him play a guy with good intentions just trying to be happy, yet who knows he’s not perfect. And James Franco as Saul, is just this uber-stoner, his brain kinda in slow-mo, but a good guy. You know, like most stoners that followed the Grateful Dead around for years. These two guys were great together on screen; they really work well together. James Franco is downright hilarious. Their onscreen friendship will be funny to any guy who ever said “I love you, man” in a drunken slur.
So here are two happy-go-lucky potheads suddenly put into this highly stressful situation, and seeing how they react certainly has many moments. I laughed a lot, I admit. This movie has a fair amount of violence in it, mostly the results of gunfire, some of which is pretty graphic. Strangely, it doesn’t feel too gross. Most of it is connected to something funny so you’re usually laughing while you’re cringing. I’m not sure what that says about me or what violence in movies has done to us as viewers. Well, maybe I do. Desensitization, anyone? Hey, with this movie, that’s what you want. Everything makes you laugh. It’s like being high, right? Well, so I’ve heard.
And this movie can be funny whether you smoke pot or not. If you do, well, you’ll relate to all the silly things they do. If you don’t smoke, you’ll laugh at how silly they act. Because, you know, let’s face it, people that are stoned are pretty funny. But this movie is definitely a “laughing with” kind of thing. This is pure absurd fun for almost two hours, and I didn’t realize it was that long when it was over. Time flew by: always a good sign.
“Pineapple Express” also has the benefit of a performance by Rosie Perez that is not annoying. We also get the joy of watching Gary Cole as Tony. Gary Cole is like the gold seal of comedy approval these days. I’m ok with that. And Yay for Ed Begley, Jr. with a rifle! Who doesn’t love to see that? Wow, now that I think about it, this movie really was made for potheads. Has Doug Benson seen this yet?
Yeah, everybody hop on the “Pineapple Express”! First stop: Funnytown!
~ Neil Weakley