Ken's Review: Pineapple Express - The Best Stoner Comedy... Ever?
by Ken Evans
August 6, 2008
Ever wonder what you would get if you took an 80's buddy cop movie and replaced the cops with stoners, then took Half Baked and made it clever instead of cheesy, and mixed the two together? What you would get is pretty close to what Pineapple Express turned out to be. I don't know if that sounds good or not, but I loved it. I was already excited for it, but didn't expect it to be near as action-packed or as smart as it was.
Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a 25-year-old process server who loves smoking weed. His typical day is made up of smoking, handing out subpoenas and hanging out with his 18-year-old high school girlfriend. Dale visits his drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) and ends up purchasing an extremely rare batch of weed called "Pineapple Express." Dale then goes to hand out another subpoena and ends up witnessing a murder, but leaves his joint at the scene. The murderer traces it back to Dale and Saul and sends his thugs to kill them and cover the whole thing up. And that's where our little tale begins!
This isn't just another goofy stoner movie. What really sets it apart is that while weed is the catalyst for the trouble they find themselves in, it isn't the major focus of the film. That said, there is still a lot of smoking and we get to see them act ridiculous and hear them say stupid things. Writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Judd Apatow were able to make this such an enjoyable movie not because it's just a stoner comedy, but because they succeed in mixing that style of comedy with lots of action and an actual plot. It might not be the deepest plot, but it is still more of one than just about any other stoner comedy I've ever seen.
I have to make a bit of an apology to James Franco after seeing Pineapple Express. Continually I have bad mouthed him in reviews and to friends. Next to Hayden Christensen and Channing Tatum, there aren't many actors that I dislike as much as James Franco. Admittedly I haven't seen everything he is in, including "Freaks and Geeks", but what I have seen of him I've hated. Now this isn't a full apology because he still must answer for his performances in Flyboys, Tristan & Isolde, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. I must say though that I absolutely loved him in Pineapple Express and thought he was an amazing stoner. I laughed so much I was crying with every facial expression and speech that came out of his mouth. Finally, the role that he was born to play!
Seth Rogen is turning out to be a favorite of mine. The first time I really noticed him was in The 40 Year Old Virgin and I haven't been able to get enough of him since. He just comes across so likeable and down-to-earth as one of the few actors in Hollywood who seems like someone you could hang out with and talk to about anything. He's extremely funny as the not-burned-out-stoner and has proven now with this and Knocked Up that he can take on the role of lead actor without a problem.
I haven't seen Tropic Thunder just yet, but if it came down to Pineapple Express and Step Brothers, I would have to pick Pineapple Express. It is just a truly enjoyable film that I smiled and laughed the full way through. Perfecting the combination of stoner comedy with a credible action plot is amazing to see. Step Brothers, while funny, just didn't break any new ground. I'll definitely be going to see this again soon!