‘Pineapple Express’ keeps stoner-comedy genre alive
August 7, 2008
It’s the Summer of Love all over again – but this time, it’s 2008 and not 1967.
All of a sudden, it seems that pot is everywhere – on the big screen and in mainstream society. Comedian Doug Benson’s “potumentary,” “Super High Me,” is doing good business, Harold and Kumar are both at it again, and even Cheech and Chong are getting back together after a 25-year hiatus. Maybe it’s the times we live in, or just that we require something to take our mind off of reality, but this summer is pretty much superheroes and potheads, and sometimes they intertwine.
“Pineapple Express” reminds me of the Three Stooges of this millennium (if they were stoners, and there were two instead of three stooges) and last year’s “Superbad.” No surprise, then, that Judd Apatow would be co-producer and co-author of “Pineapple Express.” With a screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and David Gordon Green on board as director, “Pineapple Express” isn’t content on giving us just another “Hey, Dude, Where’s My Pipe?” summer bongfest. This time, the filmmakers have a story that includes the twist of a serious crime element (as if smoking the green stuff wasn’t already a crime?) while still maintaining the usual humor – albeit sometimes crude.
Rogen plays Dale Denton, a suit-and-tie (what a “look” for Rogen this time around) process server without much motivation.
James Franco plays his drug connection, Saul Silver, who supplies Dale with a new strain of weed called the Pineapple Express. Franco’s character reminds me of another half-baked character, which must have been his source material for this role. If you get a chance, rent the 1982 classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (which a then-unknown Cameron Crowe wrote) and check out Jeff Spicoli (played by another then-relative unknown, Sean Penn) and see if Franco’s character in “Pineapple” doesn’t remind you of Spicoli.
In the classic tradition of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dale witnesses something bad (can’t give too much away), and the next thing you know, he goes from serving someone to being on the receiving end in a cat-and-mouse game. Saul is along for the chase, which is pretty funny, and it winds up spoofing other scenes where the highlight is seeing stuff blowing up.
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“Pineapple Express” might be goofy, but it sure is fun to watch.
– Howie Nave is host/manager of The Improv comedy club inside Harveys and reviews films for seven radio stations throughout Northern California and Nevada, including Sirius Radio. He hosts “Howie’s Morning Rush” on Tahoe’s KRLT radio, and you can see his film reviews on “Howie’s Late Night Rush” Monday through Friday at midnight on RSN. For past reviews, blogs and audio clips, visit http://www.HowieNave.com.
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