Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pineapple Express

Sorry it's been a while since a real review. Hopefully I'll have Tropic Thunder, Mirrors, and Clone Wars on the way, so stay tuned. First, though, is one of the few beacons of comedy in the midst of a rather unfunny summer. Pineapple Express is, of course, the newest comedy from the Apatow gang. This time relative newcomer David Gordon Green helms a Seth Rogan script to a mostly positive product.

This is, what else, a stoner movie. Rogan plays Dale Denton a professional loser who witnesses a murder committed by drug lord Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Dale goes running to his only friend, who also happens to be his dealer- Saul Silver (James Franco). The problem is that he gets his supply from Jones. The result is a tale of mistaken identity worthy of Hitchcock that wraps Saul and Dale up in the middle of a drug war.

The movie was decent on a whole- but not on par with some of their other movies. And it certainly will not go down as a stoner classic. It was a funny distraction, though. Each character was an overblown caricature- from Dale and Saul's perpetual high, to Jones' Pulp Fiction worthy thugs. The relationship between Dale and Saul was delightful. The two of them in their intoxicated state try to reason through simple problems and manage to come up with absurdly elaborate solutions. The best part of this is that they're completely aware of this. They try to destroy their phones so they can't be traced, yet leave the car on all night so it drains the batteries. It's amusing watching two men who can barely function try to escape from a crime boss.

There were some parts of the movie that really left me a little dumbfounded, however. Apparently Seth Rogan had written this quite a while ago, before he was a big name, and it kind of shows. His character, who delivers summons to criminals is dating a girl who is still in highschool. And he meets her there, and everybody just seems to be hunky dory with that. In fact, he's even invited to have dinner with her parents. Even in a near slapstick comedy like this, that's a bit too weird.

The highlight of the movie is the car chase that is featured so predominantly in the trailers. This scene really embodies the spirit of the movie. Saul "rescues" Dale from someone who was trying to help them, and they end up being chased with Saul's foot caught in the windshield where he tried to kick it out. This is the perfect example of the two of them completely ruining what should be a simple situation.

The final act in the movie really falls short in comparison. It turns into a rather straight forward action movie. The mentality of lighthearted (if inappropriate) fun is replaced by boring shootouts and fight scenes. This is absurd, but not in a good way. It seems like the main thing that made the movie good, a script by an author not held down by conventions, and obviously under a number of influences, is also what made it end so poorly. It's clear they didn't know a good way out of the story.

So the ending was lacking pretty severely, it's still better than that abysmal Step Brothers in every regard. I was a little disappointed by Pineapple Express because I've been excited about it for sixth months or so. But I'm not going to hold it against them. I suppose the movie did deliver on what it offered, a funny distraction. I just wish it didn't leave me with a bad taste.


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