Every few years there are films that come out from the same group of people (directors, writers, actors, etc…) and they usually have moderate success and then are rarely heard from again. This decade sees that group as a combination of these usual suspects: Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Elizabeth Banks, and you know the rest of them that usually end up behind the camera or on screen. This horde of people has found a list of topics that a lot of fimmakers won’t dare touch but they are willing to do so. Sex, porn, farting, drugs, and foul language are the subjects their films are about and most of the time; they’re all included in every single release.
Dale Denton has the thankless job of delivering subpoenas to people, but at least he has fun doing it. He wears different costumes to get them to identity themselves by their given names so he can legally hand the documents over to them. During the day he also drives around in his car listening to talk radio and smoking as much weed as possible. The weed he gets comes from his dealer Saul who is just looking to stay high and make a good friend or two. Saul recently got a sackful of some truly potent and good marijuana nicknamed “pineapple express” that he has sold to one customer and one customer only, Dale. They’re not great friends, but they have some things in common and can hold some decent conversations even if they’re about nothing like Dale’s high school girlfriend or his crappy job. Little did they both know that Dale’s job would soon make them trust one another more then ever before.
Dale went out to deliver a subpoena to Ted Jones one night and ended up being witness to a murder by Ted and a dirty female cop. Ted also happens to be Saul’s supplier and a very powerful man that has a lot of people on his under the table payroll. This helps Ted’s case as he tries to track down Dale who they have also connected to Saul thanks to the “pineapple express” weed that both of them smoked. From here on out, Ted wants Dale and Saul dead because he believes they are in with the Asians to take over the drug cartel. Dale and Saul just want to escape with their lives. Well, and also to smoke as much weed as possible in the meantime.
Pineapple Express is a damn funny film and will surely go down as a cult classic for generations to come just like Superbad, The Forty Year-Old Virgin, and Knocked Up. The humor is dirty, raunchy, filthy, and full of weed references that you just won’t fully get unless you’re a pothead or had a few friends who were like I did. There is plenty of slapstick and physical humor too to make you crack up every time someone bites it or gets nailed in the face with a huge rock. I cracked up a lot during the film, but there are some moments when something is supposed to merit a big laugh, but just never even got so much as a giggle from me. It’s obvious they were going for a boisterous outburst, but it either missed the mark or went right over my head. And let me tell you that I’m not a very dense person so I doubt any reference or subtle humor eluded me.
One of the thins about this film that stood out the most to me is someone who is not a regular in the Judd Apatow series of films or in comedies in general and that’s James Franco. I’ve caught him in the Spider-Man trilogy, Annapolis, Deuces Wild, and The Dead Girl just to name a few and never have I seen him as this crazy pothead dude who is just high all the time. Not only is he hilarious, but his philosophical little talks regarding the night sky or being able to trace a cell phone makes you look at him in a totally different light as well. Seth Rogen, Rosie Perez, and Gary Cole are people I already know can make me laugh. Seeing Franco have a light-hearted conversation with his “bubby” like he’s talking with an old friend made me lose it and see his performance as pure genius.
Pineapple Express is shown in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and I saw no problems anywhere with colors or anything at all.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and besides a moment here and there of the dialogue being a little low, all comes through loud and clear. The times you have to adjust the volume aren’t due to production values but because the characters are whispering or high or something. Some great music really comes through nicely and makes this a fun viewing experience.
Audio Commentary – Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow, Ed Begley, James Franco, Evan Goldberg, David Green, and Danny McBride join together for the commentary track and one of the funniest throughout the film is Begley. The dude is just hilarious even though he’s only around for like the first twenty minutes. Craig Robinson and Rosie Perez join in after Begley leaves and they are both just as funny. Rogen makes a note early that they will focus a lot on all the weird things that Green put into the background of almost every scene. I love this commentary track because there are a lot of people involved with the film and they are just having a lot of fun. They point out things, talk about the action on screen, and even come up with a drinking game to play while watching.
Extended & Alternate Scenes – There are four of these total, and they’re pretty damn good. One of them is a longer scene of the Asians in the van outside Ted’s house doing surveillance and its great stuff. (9:59)
Gag Reel – A short introduction from Rogen and Franco brings this awesome gag reel to life. Messed up lines, sets falling apart, ad-libbing, and just some truly funny stuff is included here. (4:55)
The Making Of Pineapple Express – So the moral of the film is to wonder if you would stop smoking pot if your life depended on it. Not bad. Cast and crew give their thoughts on the film as a whole and just talk about how much fun it was and other such things. There are some really cool behind the scenes stuff here that you don’t usually see in a “making of” featurette including a table read and rehearsal that are damn funny. This is a really enjoyable feature and well worth checking out. (21:07)
Trailers – Step Brothers, Superbad, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Wackness, and Balls Out: Gary The Tennis Coach
Let’s see here, how can I put this? After Pineapple Express I felt like I did after watching Superbad for the first time. It was good and funny, but it wasn’t nearly as good as everyone had said and it surely didn’t live up to all the damn hype it got. But hold on a second and don’t stone (pun intended) me yet. Superbad got the old rewatch from me many times on DVD and by catching it when it came on cable and eventually worked its way into a film that I really love. It’s not great, but I like it a lot more now then after originally watching it. I’ve got a feeling that the same thing will happen with Pineapple Express So much of it was good and funny, but it had some moments when it dragged. Maybe I didn’t catch all of the jokes or just didn’t appreciate it fully or perhaps I was tired or something…I dunno, but it will be watched again and surely end up being one of those flicks that I love.
The special features are pretty good too, but in small amount thanks to the double-disc version being released at the same time. If you don’t mind shelling out the extra five or so bucks then pick it up because there is a good bit more to be had. If extras aren’t really your thing, then get this copy because it really is a good film. I don’t want everyone thinking I didn’t like it because that is very far from the truth. I like it…I just don’t love it. Yet!
Sony Pictures presents Pineapple Express Unrated Edition. Directed by: David Gordon Green. Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Danny McBride, Ed Begley Jr.. Written by: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg. Running time: 117 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: January 6, 2009. Available at Amazon.com