Film Reviews

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS

By • Aug 6th, 2008 •

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Spider-Man couldn’t do it, but PE will make a movie star out of James Franco. The stoned Laurel and Hardy of our time are set for a huge franchise.

As you all know, ayahuasca is my consciousness-altering substance of choice. As an initiate and advocate, I am compelled to promote it. However, ayahuasca is an illegal substance not readily available on U.S. drug dealer’s menus. It is necessary to go to South America where it is a revered tribal practice for healing and divination. Ayahuasca will never be a party drug. There is too much vomiting. For some people who do not abide by the dietary rules, there are other unpleasant bodily effects. Last week I spoke at The 4th International Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Magic, Myths and Miracles that was held in Iquitos, Peru.

Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a process server with a smart-ass approach to his job. He also is a constant pot smoker with a mature high school girlfriend, Angie (Amber Heard). His new pot dealer is Saul Sliver (James Franco), who is the exclusive distributor of a highly potent brand of pot called Pineapple Express. One night, while waiting to serve a summons on Ted Jones (Gary Cole), Dale witnesses him and a cop, Carol (Rosie Perez), kill a guy. Hysterical, he drops his Pineapple Express joint out the window and takes off to hide at Saul’s place.

Saul tells Dale that his friend Red (Danny McBride) is the middleman between him and Ted. When Ted finds that PE joint, he is going to know the witness was one of Saul’s customers. Red has already been visited by Ted’s gun-wielding thugs, Budlofsky (Kevin Corrigan) and Matheson (Craig Robinson), and has given Saul and Dale up.

They go on the run with a gym bag filled with Pineapple Express. Considering the stressful circumstances, they smoke a lot of Pineapple Express to relax.

There is something in PE that is completely new in buddy comedies and I’m not going to ruin it for you.

Victoria about to vomit and leave her body...in that order.

Everything works: the screenplay by Rogen & Evan Goldberg, the directing by David Gordon Green, and the acting. In fact, McBride almost steals the movie along with Robinson. But this is the comedic skill of Rogen & Goldberg. These supporting roles are individual characters with their own agendas. They have not been written to showcase the stars. Rogen & Goldberg take the buddy movie to another height by adding ruthless killers, a quasi-gay subplot that works brilliantly, and what looks like real “non-choreographed” fighting. By that I mean, it’s sloppy.

While Rogen has the responsibility of holding down the chaos, Franco is finally sexy, charming and a real pleasure to watch. He’s found his calling and Saul is going to be his Jeff Spicoli. And that’s not too shabby.

Walking out of the theater and waiting around since I had to “valet my cell phone”, I heard the comments. Everyone under 35 said they were going to see PE again. It’s the return business that makes a blockbuster. That, and pot smoking audiences on the weekends. A past generation had audiences singing along at THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and taking LSD while watching 2001.

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS should launch another audience tread.

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