Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Weed hit [The Pineapple Express]

The Pineapple Express [R]
Grade: B
Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Gary Cole
Director: David Gordon Green

At first, it seems like such an odd pairing.

Judd Apatow, the king of the American raunch-com, and David Gordon Green, the lyrical indie filmmaker, whose ethereal work has been among the best American filmmaking of the past decade.

In truth, it’s not as odd as it seems. As far back as his earliest films, Green would express his interest in doing commercial projects in order to support his artistic ones. And his films have been known to reference The Dukes of Hazzard hidden in among his Terrence Malick wistfulness. Green also has been known to praise Tango and Cash. In print, no less. Where it can’t be denied.

With said commercially minded zeal, Green approaches the ganja-infused buddy picture The Pineapple Express, starring co-writer Seth Rogen and James Franco as a pair of potheads on the run from hit men after one witnesses a drug-world murder. Franco, especially, is terrific as a sweet-natured drug dealer in over his foggy head in a delirious weed hit of a movie. Not that I personally know what that's like.

One thing that I appreciate about Pineapple is its head-on enthusiastic commitment to its task. The film might remind you a little of Hot Fuzz in its appreciation of eighties buddy-action cinema. But Hot Fuzz approaches its inspirations with self-conscious satire. Not The Pineapple Express. It doesn’t want to be an ode to those films. It wants to be one of those films.

Pineapple is filled with overkill, but it’s delicious overkill. The final extended shootout is a monument of giddy priapic filmmaking, the work of a director and stars who are thrilled to be doing this and want to drink every single last drop. It doesn’t amount to much. It isn’t going to replace Green’s Snow Angels on my end of the year list. But it’s a fun ride that hopefully will bring a terrific filmmaker to a wider audience. And maybe let him pay for a house.


Daniel G. said...

I'm reading through a lot of these reviews that are more positive than mine, and somehow you've made me forgive the ending just a little bit more than I was originally willing to.

Evan Derrick said...

I was painfully ambivalent towards this film and barely had anything to say about it of any significant worth. To me, it's a 'ho-hum' shrug your shoulders kind of film - entertaining enough in the moment, but fully forgettable afterwards.

I also noticed that even though you were more positive than I was, the film didn't elicit much from you in terms of verbiage. One of the shorter reviews I've seen on your site.

K. Bowen said...

There's not a lot to say about this film. Like Franco. Pretty funny. Pretty violent. Have fun. That's it.

nick plowman said...

I didn't like this one much, overall anyway. Franco was great though.