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Mega Review: Tropic Thunder vs Pineapple Express!

by
July 28, 2008

Mega Review: Tropic Thunder vs Pineapple Express!

Last Friday night at Comic-Con, the FS.net crew was invited to back-to-back screenings of Pineapple Expresss and Tropic Thunder, two highly anticipated upcoming comedies. Instead of looking at each individually, I thought it would be fun to review both action/comedies together in a "mega review." While they each have their own individual merits, when you see two similar action comedies so closely together, unfortunately one of them is bound to come out on top as the better movie. While I laughed my ass off at Pineapple Express, it was Tropic Thunder that I ended up surpassing my expectations and enjoying more. Whether or not you need to make a decision between these two eventually, let's take a quick back-to-back look at both movies in our second official mega review.

Pineapple Express:
Pineapple Express Review
Rating: 8 out of 10

Is it wrong to see a movie and want to get high throughout the entire film? Smoking pot has never been so cool, as Seth Rogen and James Franco star in Judd Apatow's newest creation. From start to finish, this looks and feels like an Apatow film. However, it doesn't quite do for me what his previous films like 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad did. It feels like the action in the film (which was done surprisingly well) took a little bit away from our own relationship with each character, but in spots it adds to the comedy visually. It almost seems unfair to compare this and the previous Apatow films, because this was tagged from the beginning as an action/comedy, yet it still doesn't seem to ever reach the levels that his previous films did. Even though it has minor flaws, Pineapple Express has solid dialogue that will be sure to keep you laughing the entire time - there's certainly no question about that.

Throughout the film, our story follows Dale Denton and Saul Silver (Rogen and Franco respectively). Denton is a process server who smokes a lot of weed. His dealer, Silver, is a lazy guy selling drugs to pay for his grandmother's retirement home. When Denton isn't serving his summons to the people of Southern California, he is smoking weed and dating his 18-year old girlfriend (played by the gorgeous Amber Heard), who is in fact still in high school. Denton goes to buy weed when Silver reveals a new type of marijuana called "Pineapple Express." According to Silver, it's the ultimate marijuana. Denton buys some and hits the road with a joint in hand; as he arrives at the house of his next delivery, he ends up witnessing a murder. Denton throws out the roach and heads back to Silver's in quite a panic. Without giving away too much, this is where the shit hits the fan and the story kicks into high gear, providing many laughs along the way.

While Rogen does his usual average guy character, the true star of this film is James Franco. He channels his inner "Freaks and Geeks" (if you have ever seen the show you will understand exactly what I mean) and plays the most hilarious drug dealer in any movie to date. Even Apatow himself called Franco the "new king of comedy" at the screening we were at. From his actions to his dialogue to his quirkiness, he will absolutely keep you laughing the whole time.

Tropic Thunder:
Tropic Thunder Review
Rating: 9 out of 10

I have to admit that I was trying to hold back all excitement for Tropic Thunder. My expectations were pretty high, but I didn't want to put myself in a position to be disappointed. I know that the cast is fantastic and there have been some great viral videos from Stiller, Black, and Downey Jr., but the whole idea was a bit suspect to me. Not only did it work, it exceeded all expectations that I had, perhaps being my favorite action/comedy this year (in obvious competition with Pineapple Express). Downey Jr. puts down a fantastic performance and Stiller goes back to doing what he does best - being Ben Stiller! The comedy in this film will keep you laughing, no matter how disturbing and off color the humor might be.

The film opens with a few fake trailers for new movies due out soon. These, however, are no ordinary trailers, they're mock trailers for the Thunder's main characters. These mock-ups set the tone for each character in the film and they are comedy gold. We then move on to the opening shots of the actual Vietnam War movie that they are supposed to filming. It looks fairly good from the start and continues to go smoothly until a close up of Lazarus (Downey Jr.) and Speedman (Stiller) gets a little too emotional. The chemistry between the actors is part of what makes this movie work so damn well. At this point, the director realizes that there is no way he can control them and goes to a war vet for advice. It's simple - all they need to do is drop the actors out into the real jungle, which unfortunately turns out to be hostile territory full of pissed off drug framers. From there, mayhem ensues as they attempt to survive and act at the same time.

There is an equal amount of sight gags mixed with great dialogue in Tropic Thunder and it all comes together really well. There are two characters that absolutely shine above the rest. The first is Robert Downey Jr. - his role as Kirk Lazarus (a highly touted Australian actor that has surgery to become a black man) seems at first look to be quite a stretch, but he couldn't have done a better job. There were even times when I would look at Lazarus and not see Downey Jr. at all; it was a phenomenal job for an action/comedy. The second actor that stole the show wasn't Stiller, Black, or Danny McBride, it was none other than Tom Cruise! However, I won't spoil anything further than that, because his reveal is truly hilarious.

Final Comparison:

Since the action/comedy tag is put on both Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder, a comparison is undoubtedly necessary. Where the action scenes sometimes didn't work for me in Pineapple, they succeeded in Thunder. From numerous hilarious cameos to solid acting, Tropic Thunder is a great film from start to finish. Pineapple Express is great as well, but it is exactly what you'd expect from Apatow and company. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Thunder exceeds all expectations; I honestly didn't thing it would be that funny. If you have the time and money, please, by all means go see both of these films, because since they are both action/comedies, they are both funny in their own individual way.

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  • Curtis
    im glad Tropic Thunder is good im really looking forward to it and this gets me even more excited. Pineapple Express is gonna be awesome next week love the way James Franco acts in the trailers cant wait for these two movies.
  • Darrin
    i was voting for the thunder all the way since i saw the red band trailer. that was hilarious. pineapple express was looking good too but its basically the same with seth rogen, he's a stoner.
  • Keith
    I didn't think Tropic Thunder was anything fantastic. Id give it a 6 or 7/10. The cameos were funny, yes, but I really only laughed out loud a few times.
  • Django
    I've loved the cast of Freaks & Geeks, ever since it was on when I was younger. It's about time James Franco's getting some moments in the sun - and I have to really respect that he's continuing to push his boundaries, and not quite touring the romantic comedy circuit that, after Spider Man, some Hollywood producers were undoubtedly courting him with! The brilliant thing is - I'm easily seeing both of these - but on the "Franco Factor" alone, I'll be able to convince one of my lady friends to see what's essentially a Pothead movie, even if I do end up just renting it. Kirk Lazarus - hah! Does he do an australian accent prior to getting 'into character'? Btw- in case none of you were aware, Robert Downey Sr. (Jr's Dad) has some Blaxploitation cred, having directed the cult classic "Putney Swope". If y'all haven't seen it, it comes highly recommended (and might explain where Downey got the balls to pull this act!).
  • Kail
    I didn't like how you had to put your SSN in the website to see the Tropic Thunder trailer, that was a bit suspicious, but I waited and I saw the trailer before The Dark Knight and on TV and I liked it
  • Chad
    Man, I completely disagree, Andy..... Pineapple Express had me rolling on the floor as well as edge of my seat, whereas Tropic Thunder was just stupid. I'd have to say Pineapple Express exceeded my expectations even as an Apatow film (huge fan). I expected it to be grade A, and it turned out to be GOLD, whereas T.T. flopped! Coming out of that movie I was so disappointed. I honestly tried so hard to enjoy it as well being a former stiller fan (he needs an ace lately) but the humor was just so (for lack of a better word) dumb. Also, Tom fucking Cruise sucked my nuts in that. I did like R.D.Jr. And surprisingly, I did like Matthew McConaughey in this. But I honestly thought that it came closest to Dark Knight than any other movie would. P.S. Death Race was cool too....
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Chad, you've obviously revealed the kind of movies you like by saying "Death Race was cool too," because while I love both Pineapple and Tropic, I agree with Andy, Tropic Thunder was better. Both movies are "stupid" in a sense, but Tropic Thunder was a better script with better action and better comedy. Don't get me wrong, I loved them both, but neither were too stupid to be problematic and both were completely entertaining. I just thought Tropic Thunder was just a little bit better than Pineapple... :)
  • Chad
    No, you misinterpreted how I meant "stupid" I wasn't referring to the style of comedy, as much as just the jokes were predictable and none noteworthy leaving it not funny whereas in Pineapple, I probably missed a lot of the jokes due to being overcome by laughter. I also actually have a friend who fell asleep during T.T. It just gave the feel of a movie I would have liked when i was 14 years old, something like what Love Guru would have done had I gone to see it. Thunder just disappointed me, which is saying a lot seeing how I gave an honest effort to enjoy it. Also, did you not enjoy Death Race? I thought it was quite a ride.
  • Ben
    No comparison. Tropic Thunder is way better. Pineapple Express is just another Apatow movie. You've seen one, you've seen them all. TT is a brilliant comedy, it's satire and it's got some under layers. Pineapple Express? Stone movie. Board me to death.
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    Just saw PINEAPPLE a few days ago and laughed my ass off the whole way through which shocked me because I was really not feeling this one. Boy was I wrong. I usually hate this type of comedy, but this one really clicked. The biggest surprise for me though was Rosie Perez (Franco I knew was funny already, though he exceeded my expectatiosn still). Who knew SHE was funny?
  • LeeMan
    i really think that tropic thunder ill be the better movie, simply cuz i laughed more at the trailer. pineapple express is funny too, but it doesn't have the same charm as knocked up or superbad. tropic thunder made me laugh out loud more than once, so i think it will do better business at the b.o. however, since pinapple express comes out first and i only have money left for one film, ill be saving tropic for dvd.
  • Andrew
    I totally agree with Andy. I was lucky enough to see the 3 biggest comedies of the summer (Step Brothers, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder) before their release dates... and Tropic Thunder was indeed the best of them all. The great mixture of the action and comedy was well blended and each character was as different as the actor portraying them. Cameos are numerous in the movie and it starts at a very high level, and never drops during the entire movie.
  • Chad
    I am so disappointed in all of you. Tropic Thunder sucked so much. I was trying to be decent, but this is ridiculous. I walked in with few hopes for topping Pineapple Express, but it honestly wasn't even close. Tom Cruise thinks he's hilarious for being so over the top which makes me hate him even more for thinking so highly of himself, and I didn't think it was possible for me to hate him even more. I don't know what everyone is raving about with the "cameos" deal, having a cameo isn't sweet if it's a shitty actor. Due to my loss of respect for so many people who read this website, and the contributors, I will now begin my search for a new review blog. I hope you all start to realize true comedy soon, Love, Chad
  • Django
    Naw, naw - Chad! Say it ain't so! Don't tell me you're leavin' us! We didn't mean it! It's YOU who's the uncontested King of Comedic taste. Clearly! Come back! We Love You Too! (Sob) R.I.P. Chad. Dark Overlord and Final Word on all comedy, everywhere. May he roam to spread his enlightened opinions upon further soils - B/C IF I CAN REACH HIM WITH MY ROTTEN TOMATOES, HIS FACE IS HISTORY ! ! ! (~~>SPLATT * ! ! !)
  • http://firstshowing.net Andy Adair
    Why are you so upset? So we have a different opinion than you, doesn't mean you should be this upset! I just don't get it. Of course some people will like Pineapple Express more. That is there choice. To me, PE was just more of the same from those guys. That didn't make it bad, but it definitely didn't make it good either. And Tom Cruise was funny. Just don't get so upset because someone doesn't see eye to eye with you.
  • Chad
    Oh and too Comment # 9, Ben... are you sure you were bored to death? or "board" seems more appropriate. You sound like a stoner man. How did it boar you? There has never been a time where Apatow has board me ever. And all of his movies are original and hilarious. And I definitely wouldn't go as far calling TT "brilliant" a nine year old would get the majority of the jokes. how old are you, benny-boy? You nutted for Love Guru huh? I don't get how very few people agree with me.
  • Matthew
    Dear Mr. Billington, I completely agree with Chad. I recently saw both of these movies (at comic con) and words cannot describe how much better Pineapple Express was than Tropic Thunder. During Pineapple Express I was laughing constantly where as during TT I laughed very rarely. The jokes in TT were very childish and predictable. As far as the action portion of the movie goes I feel the majority of the people who saw Pineapple Express, including Andy, did not understand what the action was trying to accomplish. At the Q and A after PE Seth Rogan talked about how he and the other actors did many of their own stunts to make the scenes more comedic. Comparing the action scenes from these two movies is completely ridiculous. P.S. What is everyone's deal with cameos? Sure cameos are funny in movies but they are not part of what makes a movie great.
  • Chad
    Matthew, Let's hang out and smoke a bowl.
  • Matthew
    Alright dude sound awesome! How are we the only two people on this sight that appreciate good comedy? I have to say that I too am disappointed with this sight!
  • Django
    Chad: This is the Police. Open the door. No, not that one. The one to the hallway. That's right. Unlock it. Now open it. I'm Stewart Copeland. This is my friend Gordon, who also goes by Sting. We brought a big bag of weed for you. But on one condition: You must NOT leave First Showing. First Showing is lost without you. Your opinions MATTER, on First Showing. So smoke your bowls, guys. This has been a gentle reminder (and subtle bribe), from yours Truly. -The Police.
  • Chad
    What is your deal? My opinions matter to me... and really I'm just stating my opinion on the fact that decent humor can't be appreciated. Other than that though, you're hysterical. I laughed at that comment harder than any joke from T.T.
  • Django
    Glad to see you've seen the light. Wait, have you seen the light? I need it again. It's not burning, it went out. ...ahh. Nice. Thanks. Here. It's still lit. ;)
  • Matthew
    Django your awesome man. Your blogging skills are incredible! I have not read a blog post as elaborate as the one you just posted since The Great Blog Rush of '42. Seriously though man how could you have liked TT? I am disappointed in you too man.
  • Chad
    Ah... I remember that blog rush! I remember seeing Jackie Robinson play with the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1943 where at the seventh inning stretch they had Tom Willinkinston read the best of his blogs that year and the entire stadium in NY went wild, no one even watched the rest of the game that day. Instead we all discovered LSD and rolled some fatty blunts. Ever since then, blogging has never been the same!
  • Django
    You want to know my secret? C'mere. Lean in. Closer - I don't want Alex to hear. Hehe ... I , uh ... hehehe I - I can't stop laughing! hehhehe Okay, okay, it's cool. It's cool! I , uh... haven't seen any of these movies. Mmmpppphh! Pphhh! Pphahhaha!!! No, really. I'm serious. (Just gets my goat when someone insults the opinions of others, is all. That, and I've got somewhat of an allegiance to Robert Downey, since I kind of know his Dad.)
  • The Police
    Django. This is the Police. Open this door, NOW. No funny business. We're taking you in. Don't try to bribe us with your giant sacks of ... kind bud. It ... it won't work. Could we , could we open it- to get a whiff? Snnnfff--damn! That's some good shit. Tell you what - we'll cut you a deal. If you lay off the posters who are complaining about movies your haven't even seen, we'll head right back in to your apartment, light up some, and forget any of this ever happened. Deal? Oh - you want to smoke AND see the movie? All the better! Right on. Count us in!
  • Matthew
    Once again i would like to congratulate you Django. You are the greatest blogger that this world has ever seen! I'm serious the John Stamos of blogging! Congratulations sir!
  • Jessica
    Great reviews, Andy! I might watch both of these movies if I do have the time. :)
  • dac_fan
    Wow I realy wanted to see both films and I still will, but now that I know tom crackhead cruize is in tropic thunder Im not so interested in it.
  • Mark ywain
    tom cruise is so hated that he's actually inspiring people to boycott a movie and rant angrily about him on a internet review blog thingy... TT looks like a more over-the-top, go for broke comedy film and sometimes I just love those kind of films, esp. when they work.
  • Conrad
    I definitely will be seeing both of these action/comedies, without the shadow of a doubt. However, just by what I have seen of both - I think "Pineapple Express" is going to take-fucking-over "Tropic Thunder". I think Jack Black looks hilarious in TT as much as the rest, but as for a "movie" I'd much prefer (and will in fact) see PE first and foremost. Apatow brought back comedy in a whole new light. Remember all throughout the 90's you couldn't come across a REALLY GOOD group of comedies - "Weekend at Bernie's" 1 and 2? Apatow has quite literally made raunchy, ridiculous humor intelligent and humane. That reminds me, I still need to pick up "Freak and Geeks" & "Undeclared".
  • Rigo
    regardless if most of u say tropic thunder is better than pineapple express, im rollin two fat blunts before walkin into that theater tomorrow... who's with me? hahah
  • RStewie
    Wow. How old ARE these posters? Why are the posts not about the movie and instead some lame attempts to placate and/or criticize other people? They're OPINIONS. You can't change them by calling people names. You can't change them by doing anything, really. People are going to think what they want, and if they're thinking different than you, and it's got you THAT wound up, head on out! No one wants to listen to your "conversion" speeches or belittled because they aren't exactly like you. I'm excited to see both movies, and will. I like to read reviews to help me decide what to see first, but I don't let reviews determine what I'm going to watch. Just last night I watched The Happening. I was not disappointed in it, although I was glad not to have paid $8 to see it in the theater. I just wish the comments wouldn't degenerate into bullshit clique fights. I've been out of Jr. High for a while, and I don't want to go back. But relevent and conflicting opinions I AM interested in. Alex's taste doesn't always coincide with mine, so it's good to see the other side of things and determine from there if a movie is worth an outing to the theater.
  • http://firstshowing.net Andy Adair
    I again saw PE last night, and even after a second time, I agree with what I reviewed from earlier. PE is good, not great.
  • Jessica
    I might watch Pineapple Express this weekend! :)
  • Buttons
    Save this comment thread For epic lulz
  • Sorun
    Tropic Thunder was terrible i walked out 40 minutes into it............
  • Itri
    Well your loss then ^^^
  • Travis
    I have seen both of these films saw pineapple express monday night and then the midnight showing of Tropic thunder... and i have to say both are fuckin hilarious but tropic thunder took the cake for me.. its just got so much what is refered to as "politically incorrect humor" in it and just at least to me the more fucked up and over the top something is the funnier it is. both made me laugh a ton but as for this year i think i would rank the top 5 comedies as 1. Tropic thunder 2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall 3. Pineapple Express 4. Step Brothers 5. Semi pro..... however both the last 2 disappointed me greatly and i am still hoping for a Farrel movie on par with Anchorman and Taledega
  • Anthony
    it's hard to say which movie was better, but here is my opinion. overall, i enjoyed pineapple express (p.e.) more than tropic thunder (t.t.). p.e. had more raw action minus explosions t.t. had and it was funnier to me (people have different senses of humor). i laughed a lot also during t.t., but it wasn't constant.....there were a few dry spots. i think tom cruise made up for minor lack of comedy in those spots. SCREW THIS------GO SEE BOTH MOVIES, THEY ARE WORTH THE $8.50
  • reknub84@live.com
    STUPID STYLE COMEDY = zoolander which was fantastic, .... Tropic Thunder however is the biggest pile of shite ive seen in a while, the first scene in the movie is the only promising scene, I thought it was going to be great, but it just went down hill from there. NO ! do not watch both movies,... I recomend pinapple express not because I've seen it, but because there is no way that it suck as bad as tropic thunder, and tropic thunder will literally have you wanting to leave the theartre before the half point of the film
  • angryKid
    Chad. Every word you say is true. TT was a giant piece of crap. I haven't seen that bad of a film since Taladega Nights. Ben Stiller and Will Ferrel, they're both now on my DVD rental MAYBE list. They've failed way to many times.
  • angryKid
    Crap, i watched Lost Boys 2 the other night, THAT was better then TT! THAT!
  • Andres
    cheaaaaa!!
  • http://www.affilrev.worldquests.com/ robert
    Tropic Thunder is better and funny movie, yeah right

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