Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pineapple Express

As a rule, I am not a fan of stoner humor. Nothing against it; it's just never tickled me fancy. Cheech & Chong? Harold & Kumar? Eh. I just can't find a way to be interested. So I was a little apprehensive about Pineapple Express, which for the uninitiated, is a true stoner comedy about a pleasantly even-keeled stoner, Dale, played by Seth Rogen, and his eccentric dealer, Saul, played by James Franco, who get accidentally wrapped up in a chase escapade after witnessing a murder.

To my surprise, the Stoner Comedy 101 scenes of Dale and Saul waxing ineloquent in slow-motion, smoke-filled highs were few and far between. Thank god. I'd rather watch paint dry. This was much more of a silly action movie than I ever expected. The funniest scenes in the movie had to involve Saul's dealer, Red, played by Danny McBride -- who is one part Steven Seagal wannabe, one part needy housecat. Red gets beat up, shot and stabbed about a dozen times and just keeps showing up in future scenes like a chubby, mullet-wearing version of the Terminator.

I also loved the duo's pursuer, played by Craig Robinson, whom you're more likely to recognize as warehouse foreman Darryl from The Office. In Pineapple, he's a merciless killer who will crack you up with his very delicate emotions ready to burst forth at any moment.

The plot is predictable, familiar and takes way too long...two-hour-run-time too long. Some of the ancillary characters, like Rosie Perez as a dirty cop and a band of Chinese drug dealers, seem like afterthoughts, but do serve to add small doses of humor here and there. I could have done without the extended and very predictable fight scenes at the end of the film, although it was fun to watch chubby Seth Rogen try to fistfight.

Would I recommend Pineapple? I guess so...but certainly not as a gateway drug to a future appreciation of stoner flicks.

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