Pineapple Express

A Better James Franco Film

Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco

By Robert Patrick

I’m going to forget the mandatory opening statements, and describe the plotline. Forgive me for my critical insolence.

Pineapple Express, as our glossy-eyed protagonist Saul Silver explains, is a hybrid strain of marijuana. This strain, so rare it can only be traced back to our aforementioned drug dealer extraordinaire, ends up being found at a crime scene. As luck would have it, Dale Denton, one of Saul’s bumbling clients, witnesses a murder while blazing this particular weed up. In a moment of panic, Dale tosses the reefer out the window, and in doing so, throws our plotline into the wind. The killer, simply known as Ted Jones, finds the unique roach, and, upon further examination, determines that he should probably track down the profiteer of this drug and kill him. You know, the usual cover your bloody tracks method. In the meantime, our protagonist, like any idiot savant would do, drives back to his dealer’s house to seek solace. This is where the oblivious, giggle happy Saul decides to run off with the bumbling, anecdote spewing Dale. This is a duo made in heaven, largely because of how quick they both are, despite being high all of the time.

Dale Denton, who is played by the ever gregarious Seth Rogan, basically reprises his role from Knocked Up, only in an alternate universe filled with explosions. Saul Silver, the methodically baked, cargo pant wearing drug dealer, is played by Spiderman alum, James Franco. Usually pursing his lips for the most dramatic of lines, Franco literally lets his hair down in a role that requires him to do little else. The twosome, who probably would’ve been the strangest team up ever if you asked me last year, have some pretty credible chemistry on the screen. Franco is even more funny than Rogan in this specific film, which may be surprising to most, as he runs around in aerodynamic fits en route to escaping fist fights, law enforcers, and machine gun wielding drug lords.

Plus, I mean really, I will always laugh at someone getting unintentionally stabbed in the back with a fork. Call it brutish and low brow, but inescapable physical afflictions caused by kitchen appliances to the back of James Franco will always win against obligatory pop culture jokes.

Budlofsky and Matheson, the two hit men who are making a play to snuff out Dale and Saul, are played by Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson. You have probably seen them both in Knocked Up and Superbad, respectively. The teaming of the pseudo-violent Budlofsky and the overbearing, overemotional Matheson is a primer for the most ridiculous ending I’ve seen all year in a motion picture.

There is a lot of action in Pineapple Express. And when I say action, you’re going to see cars flipping through the air, warehouses blowing up, and people being jumped on from unrealistic heights. Hell, Pineapple Express is like a 1980s buddy cop movie: without the cop part.

The plot of this movie relies on a lot of stoner humor; something that I’m not huge on. The other, better half of the movie see’s itself as a movie about friendship, popping dialogue and great action sequences. The entirety of the film revolves around Dale and Saul getting chased from set to set, by actor to actor. I have to say, the gluttonous, over indulgent moviegoer in me actually celebrated this chaos.

Dale and Saul’s odyssey is a comedy of megalomaniacal proportions, written by two guys, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, that like their rebukes with wit, and their action with cheese.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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