Pineapple ExpressDirected by: David Gordon Green Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Danny R. McBride Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R
Plot: A stoner (Seth Rogen) has to go on the run when he witnesses a murder and the only person he can turn to is his dealer (James Franco). Chaos ensues.
Who’s It For? If you like pot and action movies, then this is your dream ticket. There is a surprising amount of gratuitous violence in the film.
Expectations: Green's most recent directing job was the insanely somber Snow Angels of which, my review went something like this ... "I have no idea who I could recommend this well-acted, well-crafted film too." So, I was a little nervous about him, but otherwise the "Freaks & Geeks" crew was making another film and that's all that really mattered.
Actors: Seth Rogen as Dale: Rogen's job is to steady the ship. He's the everyman ... on pot. Sure it's an uncomfortable wrinkle that he's dating a high school girl, but he's just so likable. It's amazing that he will be playing the Green Hornet ... though it's not set for release until 2010, so he's got a little time to get into better shape. Score: 7
James Franco as Saul: It's great to see Franco let his hair down -- literally, figuratively, whatever. Saul is the perfect pot dealer. And it's Franco's best work since the James Dean TNT movie. Score: 8
Danny R. McBride as Red: At first, I was thinking McBride would have his three minutes of screen time and that was that, just kind of amusing. But every time he showed up he kept getting funnier. McBride will continue to steal scenes and has aligned himself with Will Ferrell in the upcoming Land of the Lost. Score: 7
Rest of Cast: Bill Hader starts things off with a great cameo as an army private testing marijuana. Gary Cole and Rosie Perez didn't have the impact I was expecting. Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson are great as the bickering henchmen and it's always nice to see Nora Dunn getting work. Score: 7
Talking: There are tons of repeatable lines in this film like "Pandora doesn't go back in the box, it only comes out." There is a lot of back and forth between Dale and Saul and it works because of Rogen's ability to question the oddities that come out of Franco's mouth. Score: 8
Sights & Sounds: The music is a hint disappointing. It's not a problem, it's just very forgettable and that's not normally the case for a hip movie like this. But all is forgiven because of all the "below average guys fighting." With all of the perfectly choreographed action movies out there it's an insanely pleasant surprise to actually see what most of us would look like in a fight. Score: 8
Best Scene: Initially, I wanted to say the first time we see Saul, watching "227" and Krull, yes the Krull, man I loved that movie. But the best was the extended fight sequence with Dale, Sale and Red, complete with timeouts and the kitchen sink, that's the winner here.
Ending: Some people won't die, and thank goodness for that. In probably the most "pot movie-esque" scene, the film ends with the guys sitting at a diner talking about their amazing adventures.
Questions: Do they actually borrow the line, "You can stuff your sorries in a sack" from "Seinfeld"? Very impressive. Is Dale the best process server of all-time? The man has costumes. And I assume the only reason Dale is dating a high-school girl is for the scene where they are on the phone and he gets nervous about the future of their relationship.
Rewatchability: Yes, especially as a late-night cable movie. With each viewing I have to imagine Red will become funnier. Plus, we can hope for a commentary by Rogen and Franco on the DVD.
OVERALL Pineapple Express is a mess, but a wonderful one. It's not the ultimate movie about pot that I was expecting, instead it's a great ordinary-man action movie. Seeing Rogen, Franco and McBride strap up with guns and try to get out of a jam is good fun. There is room in the Judd Apatow (he produced and got a story-by credit) vault for this film. It's more of a buddy flick and there are some long moments where it seems the film has run out of material, but a great performance by Franco quickly rights the ship. It's a good summer buzz. Score: 7 out of 10