you find yourself laughing at Pineapple Express,
it’s probably because you really want to like this
movie. I mean what’s not to like? Yet another Team
Apatow production, the movie stars comedy darling Seth Rogen
(Knocked Up, Superbad)
and teen dream James Franco (Spiderman, Flyboys)
in a funny movie about smoking pot.
that’s a deal I’d sign for sure. In reality
however, Pineapple Express is far from the Icky
Sticky and more like a bad case of stinkweed.
Express starts off strangely. Its first few minutes
are a black and white flashback of a hidden government facility
working on a top secret project circa 1938. When the Army
Official who’s in charge of the project comes to check
on the progress, he’s horrified to find out that the
test subject is out of his mind on a foreign substance and
then he consequently closes the project down. The foreign
substance in question?
No reference to any particular strain or
growth, just weed itself. After the project is shut down,
there’s no real connection to the next scene, because
then we appear in current day and the main story begins.
main crux of Pineapple Express is about pot-smoking
unmotivated subpoena server Dale Denton (Rogen). Not much
is revealed about Denton other than he smokes a lot of pot
and dates eighteen year old high school student Angie (Amber
no real reason, Denton visits his trusty drug dealer Saul
(Franco) to pick up his weekly stash. Saul, feeling generous,
or just high, decides to share some of his prize possession
pot, The Pineapple Express, with Denton, mostly because
he’s just lonely and wants somebody to smoke out with.
It’s here where we get our first real exposition of
the plot, where Saul tells us that this batch of weed is
so rare, that he’s the only dealer in the entire city
who’s been allowed by the higher end bigwigs to sell
After what one might assume is an attempt
at stoner bonding, Saul sells some of the mythical Pineapple
Express to Denton and they exchange some nonsensical dialogue
that’s supposed to pass as character development.
Denton departs, Saul eats cereal or something and here we
are twenty minutes into a movie that has no real focus.
Denton is preparing to serve another deadbeat on his list
he pulls over to light up some of that awesome Pineapple
Express. Which at this point has only been talked about
being great and acted as being the greatest weed, but is
in no way demonstrated in the film as being any different
from any other normal weed. At least in the great stoner
comedy Half Baked when their medical marijuana
was smoked, they exaggerated the effect of the super weed
with a badly done flying effect. Granted it was a sillier
movie, but it at least demonstrated the difference of the
more potent weed as compared to just weed in general.
waiting outside his client’s house baking in his car,
Denton notices the owner of the house, Ted Jones (Gary Cole),
murder a man in cold blood.
and terrified, and mostly high, Denton sloppily tries to
flee the scene and causes a big ruckus slamming into two
parked cars. Just narrowly escaping, Denton makes the biggest
stoner mistake you could make and tosses his doobie out
really gets the plot moving because as Ted Jones comes outside
to watch the would-be witness jettison away without seeing
him, Jones realizes that the doof left a clue on the pavement.
And Jones does what any crazy murderer would do -- he picks
up the discarded roach and takes a drag. And what does he
It’s Pineapple Express!
does he know? Well, he’s the drug dealer who gave
it to Saul, of course.
Yes folks, the entire movie balances on
this toothpick tip thin of a point.
It’s at this point in the film where
any real semblance of a story has been thrown out the window
for the hopes that people will just find stoners funny and
not sad, pathetic, lonely people (which the movie unintentionally
portrays them as).
For no apparent reason, in a panic state,
Denton seeks sanctuary at Saul’s place in hopes that
the hapless drug dealer he was just a few minutes ago using
to buy drugs will help him out. It’s here that the
audience is once again reminded that Pineapple Express is
exclusive to Saul and that anyone who can identify weed
just by taste will surely know where to find him.
rest of the film can only be described as a self proclaimed,
stoner action movie, as Denton and Saul try to escape Jones’
thugs (Craig Robeson and Kevin Corrigan) and friend/enemy
and part time immortal, Red (Danny McBride).
also a super thin subplot of an Asian crime family out for
vengeance that’s so utterly underdeveloped that it’s
not even worth mentioning other than that it just gives
the filmmakers an excuse to cast Bobby Lee and Dr. Ken Jeong
(The Kims of Comedy).
Express is a mess of a movie. Inspired by Brad Pitt's
stoner character from True Romance and written
by the team that brought you Superbad (Seth Rogen
and Evan Goldberg) Express is convoluted by what
it really wants to be.
main story has no central question, side plots of Denton’s
girlfriend and her parents are useless and unnecessary and
the comedy just isn’t there. There are laughs, sure,
but as a whole the movie is just weak. It starts being a
dialogue heavy script hipping the whole pot thing, then
the second half is just a cartoon of an eighties action
movie with no real motivation for any characters other than
just being there.
liners are used gratuitously and most fall flat in their
absurdity and by the end of the film it almost feels as
if the film makers gave up on the movie too. Gary Cole,
who’s usually great in everything he does, is wasted
here. Rogen is uneven as the dopey loser, who then turns
into a gun toting action star. Franco is just playing Jeff
Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and
Express brings nothing new to the stoner comedy genre
and in a way, is actually off putting to stoners in general.
It almost plays to the stereotype that stoners are always
funny because they’re always high and that’s
enough. The movie even banks on that fact and hopes that
general audiences will accept that premise over a movie
with a real plot, smart jokes, and likable characters.
if the people behind Pineapple Express think that
stoners will just accept a sub par stoner comedy, especially
after such classics as Dazed and Confused, the
aforementioned Half Baked and anything by Cheech
and Chong, then surely they must be high.