It’s Like Killing a Unicorn: Pineapple Express
This evening, after an evening of excellent sushi at Jimisan, Maynard and I went to see Pineapple Express, a film starring Harry Osborne, that Dude in Every One of Judd Apatow’s Films, Ed Begley, Jr., and some kind bud.
The movie takes its name from a specific strain of pot (which takes its own name from a weather phenomenon that supposedly is the reason why the dope is so good). It’s a very unique blend, and (as shown in the opening sequence) was, uh, made by the military before World War II.
This film made me want to smoke pot more.
It is fantastically funny – though I must apply a caveat to this statement. This is a stoner flick. It is about getting high. Ergo, much of its comedic value comes from identifying with, you know, being totally fucking baked dude I’m totally not kidding, dude, I just had the best idea ever but I could really chow on some Doritos, know what I’m saying?
Oh. Yeah. The movie.
Pineapple Express is really an “anti-buddy cop film.” It’s Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle meets Lethal Weapon meets (seriously) Grand Theft Auto (which, really, is just a video game of Harold and Kumar meets Lethal Weapon, when you think about it).
There is a series of completely implausible happenings and character decisions that, you know, make, you know, totally no sense at all to the Un-Experienced. It is a series of gags tied together with a recycled plot from a 1970’s action film. And it works.
Seth Rogan may well be one of the best “straight men” in today’s cinema. His sense of timing and ability to express incredulity and frustration are well served here: despite being stoned in every scene his character is the “smart one.” He has a “real” job. He’s dating a chick in high school and he has no real goals and all he does is smoke pot, but he is the responsible party in this union.
Surprisingly (and seriously, I mean this), James Franco is a funny guy. I’d only ever seen him in films where he plays a kind of “heartthrob” character. Semi-serious, typically action-oriented dramas. So to see him play the comic was a twist – and he pulls it off. Further surprisingly, he applies a level of depth to what amounts to a throw-away character. When we first meet him, he’s a sort of shut-in pot dealer whose loneliness is palpable enough to be felt by those in the audience. He plays it well.
The “70’s action film” plot I alluded to earlier comes across, at the end, as a bit too much while you’re there, but afterward it seemed necessary. A satire requires its beginning, middle, and end to be seen within a predictable arc. So the final gunfight is required in that mode.
My one complaint – and again, this has a caveat – is that the film may be a bit too long. However, I can’t think of where I’d cut it down. Each sequence is funny as fuck, no one sequence feels too long, and they all feel important. I could not pick any one part to chop out completely, and I expect that the director felt the same way.
It’s not a film that I think needs to be seen right the fuck now. In fact, it may be better viewed from the comfort of your own home where you can get righteous with a doobie and not be overly concerned with people harshing your mellow.
I laughed my ass off, and if you have ever gotten loco, you probably will, too.