Southern-inspired video artist and director David Gordon Green directed this action/buddy/stoner comedy flick. And one of the biggest faults of the movie was its attempt to combine all those genres; to be more specific, in the buddy/stoner part, it does really well but in the comedic action sequences, it totally loses its way.
Seth Rogen plays Dale Denton, a process server that likes to toke up with his dealer, Saul Silver, played marvelously by a (finally!) approachable James Franco. In the first part of the movie we are introduced to these characters: Dale likes talk radio, and Saul likes to smoke dope. Then, after Saul sells Dale some of the rarest strain of weed in the city, dubbed “Pineapple Express”, Dale goes to serve another subpoena. Little does he know, he will be witness to a murder. From then on, there is a full-on buffet table of chaos, paranoia, stupidity, yelling, screaming, explosions, love, and “bromance.”
The relationship between Dale and Saul is really a highlight of the first half of the film. The chemistry between Seth Rogen and James Franco keep the jokes coming through their hyperactive ‘talky’ style of dialogue. The dialogue works on one level, since it’s a stoner comedy, but still nearly two hours of this gets old really quickly, and in all that talk I nearly missed out what a wonderful job Franco and McBride did. They did well.
Unfortunately, the movie destroys itself multiple times as the action scenes get more and more ridiculous. The laughter gets replaced by silence and even, at one point, downright rejection. It’s unfortunate because if the first half had constituted the entire movie, it would have been stellar; unfortunately, the excessive random violence and bad jokes that were prevalent in the second half just got to be a bit too much. The jokes start to miss (much like the bullets), the plot forgets itself, and everything wonderful that was built up, in the beginning, gets destroyed in a big ball of flames. It reminded me a lot of 2006’s Hot Fuzz in that respect; a perfectly good set-up, before it degenerated into something nonsensical and ridiculous.
As the plot got more and more away from what it built up, the slower and slower time seemed to pass; and the 111-minute runtime begins to feel like double that. It’s a sad day when an Apatow comedy isn’t funny (like the day that I saw Drillbit Taylor). Pineapple Express was much better, on the whole, then Drillbit, but there were still enough silent moments that left me wondering: how did Seth Rogen get typecast so quickly? Unfortunately, it does not end well either. It was one of the worst endings I have seen and it made the nearly two hours feel like a real drag.
2 ½ / 5 stars
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