Pineapple Express is the side-splitting tale of two chronically stoned ne’er-do-wells who suddenly find themselves trying to survive the pitfalls of an action movie.
Dale (Seth Rogen) is a process server who regularly gets high to ward off the stress of his daily duties. He grudgingly tries to maintain a business-only relationship with his lonely dealer Saul (James Franco) despite Saul’s grasping at any sign of friendship and invitations to hangout. When Saul presents Dale with rare primo marijuana called Pineapple Express, Dale immediately coughs up the extra dough. But when he witnesses a murder by the city’s most dangerous drug lord (Gary Cole) and a dirty cop (Rosie Perez), the uncommon weed from a discarded roach is easily traced back to him and Saul. All of a sudden, the pair is running for their lives and trying to work out if they can really be friends.
This is action-comedy at its best. The laughs never stop and the ludicrousness of the action sequences is entirely fitting since the characters are bumbling towards survival. Nonetheless, the inept stoners take part in a car chase, gun battles, hand-to-hand combat and massive explosions.
In between the mayhem and hilarity, writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg incorporate what audiences have come to expect from a Judd Apatow production – an endearing and thoughtful core. Saul and Dale are fully developed characters with emotional ties (Dale has a teenaged girlfriend and Saul has his grandma) and issues to work through (their answer to everything is marijuana). In addition to the rollercoaster of facetious violence, the guys ride the ups and downs of their relationships to others and each other.
Audiences will be surprised by Franco’s comedic aptitude as he turns in a breakout performance, reuniting with Apatow and Rogen from their days on the short-lived television series Freaks and Geeks. Usually so clean-cut, it is difficult to recognize him behind the long, straggly hair and ugly pants. But his hurt expressions and spaced-out responses are incredibly sincere and, therefore, extremely funny. Rogen’s performance is typical of most of the characters he’s played, which is not to say it was not humorous but it was not distinct.
Danny McBride is very amusing as Red, Saul’s supplier. His loyalties tend to lie with whoever is threatening him at the moment and his resiliency is cartoon-like as he consistently rebounds from numerous injuries. McBride is the perfect fit for the role.
These guys delivered the funniest flick of the summer in 2007 with Superbad and it looks like they’ll capture the title again this year.