Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I hate stoner movies. You know the type – comedies that capitalize on the silliness of characters engaged in smoking pot and getting incredibly high. These movies don’t generally have a plot or purpose and are, in my opinion, really not worth watching. But the other day, I found myself watching a stoner movie. It wasn’t my fault – a friend decided that was the movie we were going to watch that day. And that movie: Pineapple Express.
In the film, Seth Rogen stars as Dale Denton, a process server with a love for pot smoking. Great at his job, he is apparently not very good at life itself. A 25-year-old, Denton is less than mature and thus is dating a high school senior (Amber Heard). His only real friend is his drug dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco). Agreeing to meet and have dinner with his girlfriend’s parents, Dale decides to pick up some weed from his dealer for a little strength.
While there, he mentions the next individual on his serving list, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Apparently, Saul knows Ted. He’s a much larger dealer who supplies Saul with the marijuana he sells, including the very special weed variety known as Pineapple Express…the very strain of pot Saul just sold Dale.
Pausing outside Ted Jones’ house to smoke a bone, Dale inadvertently witnesses Ted and a cop (Rosie Perez) murder a man in cold blood. In his stoned attempt to flee, Dale tosses his marijuana cigarette out his car window, crashes into the officer’s patrol car (drawing attention to himself) and flees the scene. Heading to Saul’s home and explaining the situation, the two realize that Dale is in deep trouble, as is Saul – the pineapple express roach Dale left behind can be traced to Saul.
The two find themselves on the run, looking for a way to escape the clutches of Ted Jones, his cop for hire and his less than efficient thugs. Can Dale save himself and his friends from the wrath of a ruthless drug dealer and still manage to keep his job and his girlfriend?
Okay, so, let’s be honest. I didn’t want to enjoy this film. Despite enjoying the soundtrack I was given to review some time ago, I was dead set against liking what I figured was another brainless stoner film. And yet, I found myself laughing quite often at Pineapple Express. Seth Rogen sells us on the immature process server with the marijuana habit…I have the feeling (based upon this and other Rogan films) that he can relate to at least one of those traits quite well. Seth is just inherently funny – there aren’t many movies he is in that don’t elicit a multitude of laughs. But who knew that James Franco could be funny. The pairing of Seth Rogen and James Franco was surprisingly good. The two played off each other well and Franco exhibits some fairly good comedic timing.
The storyline is a bit far-fetched and something often found in stoner films – the unwitting stoned character finding his/herself on the run from some serious trouble. And yet, Pineapple Express has a leg up on other films in this genre with an intelligent script, good chemistry between the characters, a decent soundtrack and some fun, outlandish action scenes. Plus, you could really tell that all of the actors were having fun with the film.
So, as much as it kills me to say this, I actually truly enjoyed Pineapple Express and all of its pot-based craziness. This is one stoner movie that I can recommend to all as a fun comedy with action undertones.