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Pineapple Express

Seth Rogen and James Franco come off like a Laurel and Hardy on, well, pot in this frenetic wild ride which mixes violence, drugs and laughs with such abandon you gotta love the audacity of it all.


In yet ANOTHER summer romp from the Judd Apatow factory line, Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a beefy rotund guy who delivers subpoenas for a living. He also dates a young jail-bait cutie, Angie (Amber Heard), when he's not visiting his sweet stoner of a pot dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco) to score the latest and greatest weed. In this case that's the title star, Pineapple Express, a marijuana combination so lethal and unique Dale is almost (we said ALMOST) reluctant to destroy it by inhaling. But when he sets out to deliver a subpoena to drug kingpin Ted Jones (Gary Cole), he is spotted by the man as he commits a bloody murder. Freaking out, Dale ditches the scene so fast he dumps some of the precious weed, leaving it behind like a trail of breadcrumbs dropped by Hansel, leading a trail to Saul. Reefer madness ensues as a full-blown freak out is set in motion, and Dale and Saul hit the pedal to the metal in order to evade Ted and his loony goons (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). This leads to so many crazy-weird encounters and near-death experiences, it makes a Road Runner cartoon look like the work of Ingmar Bergman by comparison. Smashed heads, sliced and diced ears, banged up bodies galore--you want it, Pineapple Express has got it. As the film's ad line implores, 'put that in your pipe and smoke it!'


Rogen and Franco are the yin and yang of comedy here with wildly divergent styles that complement each other perfectly. Rogen plays Dale with such over-the-top hysteria and a high pitched sense of desperation he's fun to watch--until you just want him to calm down and take a breath. Franco steals the film lock, stock and barrel with his stoned-out weed maestro who clearly has ingested so much of the stuff himself that he qualifies for a place in the slacker hall of fame. With his parade of non-sequiturs and nonsensical ramblings, Franco turns gentle Saul into one of the year's most endearing and hilarious creations. Although the movie belongs to these two, special mention should also go to Danny McBride, who takes it on the chin (and everywhere else) as Red, Saul's unfaithful drug buddy and supplier. Cole is all evil menace, while Rosie Perez shows up as his cop-tease accomplice.


David Gordon Green, a director previously known only for small downer indie films like All The Real Girls and Snow Angels seems to be getting off on all the toys producer Apatow has given him to play with. Adeptly handling the car crashes, extreme violence and general anarchy on screen, Green keeps the action moving and the laughs coming. The film is handsomely shot and production values are strong, even though what's on screen basically comes down to a how-can-you-top-this destruction derby. Working off a script from Superbad writers Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg, Green manages to evoke the spirit of a mismatched buddy movie along the lines of a Midnight Run but ratchets up speed, tempo and noise levels to the needs of the average attention span for this type of flick. Take that, Harold and Kumar! Although not as supergood as Superbad, it's all a lot of fun if you like your frivolity generously mixed with carnage. Huey Lewis also contributes a catchy title song that perfectly captures the whacked-out stoner spirit of the whole enterprise.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.