PINEAPPLE EXPRESS scores some laughs but NOT enough to sustain its paper thin premise
It’s getting a little harder to get excited about a comedy with the JUDD APATOW name attached as it seems he’s involved with a new film just about every other week. The latest from his comedy factor is Pineapple Expres, a strange mix of stoner comedy, chase movie and hard core violent action film. The result is a sometimes funny but ultimately disappointing effort. The plot is pretty simple. Seth Rogen plays Dale, a 25-year-old process server who lives to get high. One day, while attempting to serve a drug king pin (Gary Cole), he witnesses a messy murder that sets the film’s storyline in motion. James Franco (in a solid performance) plays Saul, his lovable, lonely and totally messed up drug dealer. He gets heavily involved in the melee when the joint Dale was smoking, an exclusive brand of marijuana called Pineapple Express, is found at the scene of the crime, causing some really bad people to come looking for them. From there the film features some very long and uninspired dialogue scenes between Rogen and Franco, a somewhat amusing but predictable car chase, and the violent and totally miscalculated third act which feels like a bad Lethal Weapon movie.
The F-Bombs and bullets to the stomach gags only go so far and, since there’s no real story to move things along, the whole proceedings start to wear really thin. The biggest laughs for me came from the subplot involving Dale’s 18-year-old high school girlfriend Angie, well played by Amber Heard. The opening scene where Dale has a confrontation with her school administrator is very funny and a later scene when he meets her parents, played by Ed Begley Jr. and Nora Dunn, is the movies very best sequence. Also worth noting is the performance of Danny McBride (Drill Bit Taylor) as Saul’s pot supplier, Red. He gets a lot of mileage out of his material and, for my money, steals the film away from both Rogen and Franco. Overall, Pineapple Express is stuck in OK-Ville. It’s not really bad but it’s just not really good either. To me this is a case of a good concept lacking the really good script that sustains a feature length movie. It’s a decent watch with a handful of inspired moments but nothing to get excited about. 2.5 Zombies out of 5.
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