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Posts Tagged ‘stoner flick’

Pineapple Express: Weed Comedy with a kick…and a punch…and an elbow drop!

Posted by goldwriting on August 6, 2008

“Do you think what they’re doing over there is illegal? I mean, in this state?”

“Man, I’m not even sure if it’s possible.”

Could it be possible the people behind Pineapple Express were so baked they didn’t even realize it got released on Wednesday instead of Friday? Maybe it was supposed to hit last Friday and everyone connected to it just woke up this morning and thought, “Oh crap. Umm…let’s just send it out now.” Or, the least amusing and most likely of the options, they wanted a jump start on opening weekend tallies and figured it might help them unseat the reigning champion, The Dark Knight. Whatever the reason might be, I’m glad for it because it broke up my week nicely.

Walking into the theater I had expectations only to be entertained, nothing more. My gauge was set to something just a little over Step Brothers, but not aiming for Superbad, Knocked Up or Beverly Hills Cop (added that last one in because it is by far one of the best R rated comedies of all time). What I got was something much different. This is more than a stoner film, this is a whole new genre, the stoner-action film. The genius of this is no one really ever broached this area since logic prevailed against it. If you have two stoners as the main characters, you can’t have an action film because they’ll sit around and do nothing the whole time. There was a brief poke into this with the release of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, but it wasn’t as much action oriented as hijinx filled. The Pineapple Express formula looks something like this: Smoke weed -=> Witness Violence -=> Smoke more weed -=> Cause Violence -=> Smoke even more weed -=> Go on completely ridiculous violent tangent. As odd as that might sound, it worked like a charm. If this had been shot as a wall-to-wall stoner film it would’ve gotten old within the first thirty minutes, but the fight scenes are so absolutely over the top and beyond hilarious it helped create a nice balance of pacing and energy from the movie and for the audience.

In front of the camera playing our two doobie loving heroes are Seth Rogen and James Franco. Rogen is on a streak which can almost not even be fathomed by most in Hollywood. Reaching back to his humble beginnings on the Judd Apatow led TV show, Freaks and Geeks, Seth has gone on to become one of the most powerful forces in today’s comedy world. Along with Apatow, his mentor, they have single-handedly created the resurgence of the raunchy comedy and infused it with enough heart to increase the audience base by double or more. Soon enough, Rogen will be the Kevin Bacon of the comedy world and you won’t be able to connect two movies without finding him or someone that’s worked with him. James Franco on the other hand, not the well known actor in the comedy circles, but he channels a mix of Rory Cochrane (aka Ron Slater) from Dazed and Confused and Jeff Bridges (aka The Dude) from The Big Lebowski. His relaxed facial expressions and foggy stoner logic throughout the film drive the reaction shots in scene after scene. Lastly, rounding out this baked-in trio is Danny McBride as Red, who in the public eye is just coming off his commendable comedy efforts in The Foot Fist Way. Even though Seth is walking tall in the movie world right now, he actually gets outplayed by both James and Danny who each turn in brilliantly toned and tempered performances. Also, watching these three in a fight scene together was one of the top five most hilarious moments this year.

Some people might not realize that Seth Rogen also is the producer or co-writer of a majority of his recent hits. Knocked Up, Superbad and The 40-Year Old Virgin, on top of this new super-stoner flick, have all felt the weight of his pen and his intelligence for storytelling. He’s got a new big screen adaptation of TV’s The Green Hornet coming up and it almost feels a little like Pineapple Express could be a gateway movie for the audiences to begin looking at him as an action/comedy star. He said in a recent interview he was worried about what was going to happen next since he came up with a lot of these movie ideas when he was fifteen and now he’s much older and has to start coming up with entirely new stories. He might be worried about it, but I’m not. Something tells me Rogen and the entire Apatow crew is going to be around for a very long time. The feeling in the theatrical comedy world right now is reminiscent of Saturday Night Live when you get that perfect mix of cast members. Let’s all sit back, pop open our choice of sugary goodness and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Recommendation: Obviously I enjoyed the film and I would tell you to go ahead and check it out. The theater experience isn’t completely necessary, but I would do it anyway since you won’t have to wait months for the DVD to hit shelves. Plus, there are a few action scenes which can be helped by the big screen and sound. Oh, and for those wondering about the unanswered question, you do not actually have to be stoned to enjoy the movie.

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