Pineapple Express
Fire Damage: $100,000. Hernia Operation: $45,000.
Rescuing your best friend while not wearing pants: Priceless.

Theatrical Release Date: 08/06/2008
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Amber Heard

Whether is at a midnight screening or about 60 seconds after 4:19 in the afternoon, today stoners across America will have the chance to rejoice not only in their beloved pastime, but also in watching “Pineapple Express” – the new pot comedy from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Judd Apatow.

Rogen and Goldberg co-wrote “Express” as well as last year’s surprise sleeper hit “Superbad” and if you aren’t aware of the roll Judd Apatow is on in Hollywood over the last few years, go back to bed Rip Van Winkle.

This time around, the creative juices were channeled through director David Gordon Green, which was an unusual choice and the main reason this film was on my radar. He directed one of my favorite films, “All the Real Girls” as well as the excellent Snow Angels and a surprisingly decent Dermot Mulroney performance in “Undertow”.

The thing all of Green’s prior films have in common is that none of them would be deemed a comedy. Sure, there are comic moments in them but up to this point, he has helmed intelligent, independent dramas … just about the polar opposite of a raunchy, stoner film. However, with “Pineapple Express”, Green has managed to make an even bigger believer out of me in his abilities by shedding his melancholy and psychologically tense skin and allowing the silly, absurd nature of the script and actors to shine through in this film.

The title of the film is the name of a new marijuana varietal that is supposed to be leaps and bounds more potent than your average Mary Jane or your hip hop endorsed Chronic. (See what I did there? I’m down with the street lingo these youths are slinging in tha playgroudz, you dig?)

The plot is simple. Seth Rogen witnesses a murder. The killers pursue him via his connection to James Franco, his pot dealer. The two figure out a way to foil the bad guys and stay alive. Hijinks ensue. But you’re not watching this film for plot. At least, I hope not … because if you are, that’s sad. Really, really sad.

What you’re in the theater for is crude humor and ridiculous, stoner antics. “Pineapple Express” delivers that by the ounce (another zinger!). If you’re a fan of the pot comedy, first of all I don’t know how you were able to turn on your computer, let alone read this review. Second, I’m surprised you’re not already at the theater. But in any case, potheads everywhere will surely find a lot to laugh at here and while the film is funny to the average Joe Citizen, so much of the humor depends on a rudimentary knowledge of the effects of pot and experience dealing with stoners.

Having gone to high school and college in the 90s, I know enough to get the jokes but having nowhere near the drug cred of today’s average junior high school student, the full nuance of the film didn’t rub off on me. Now, I laughed a lot at the crazy things done by Rogen, Franco, and especially Danny McBride (a previous collaborator with Green). I’m definitely saying this is a funny film. However, it didn’t really do anything to separate it from the pack of stoner films that have come out in recent years.

I have a greater affinity for the “Harold and Kumar” franchise thanks to it stars, John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris. I also enjoyed “Knocked Up” a little more because there was more to the story than a few lovable stoners on an action/adventure/comedy ride that cements their friendship (not that a film needs more than that necessarily).

For whatever reason (and I think it’s my virtual lack of pot smoking or stoner friends), I found myself enjoying the film very much but not as much as a lot of the audience at the screening I attended. I was annoyed as the film lost momentum towards the end when the characters must go through that typical “I’m sorry I was a jerk” cliché and I’m not ready to place it above some of the other comedies to have come out this year, like the recent “Step Brothers“.

Still, “Pineapple Express” delivers on the laughs and it’s the best performance I’ve seen out of Franco (since he most recently has been busy crying in all the “Spiderman” films) so I’ll give the film a very strong 3 out of 5. If I was more connected to the stoner lifestyle, this would have easily garnered another point and be aware that Elizabeth Edgemont wanted to give this a 4 but I’m writing the review, so I’ll do what I want … take that! (Please don’t hurt me.)

If you’ve already seen “Step Brothers” or prefer Rogen to Will Ferrell, then by all means go out and see “Pineapple Express”. However, make sure you’ve already seen “The Dark Knight as we all quest to topple “Craptanic” from the throne of biggest Domestic U.S. box office. At least, then we can all say that this generation did something worthwhile other than upload a billion videos of guys racking themselves onto the Internet.