My Favorite Movies – Pineapple Express (2008)

7 May

By Tanner Smith

As much as I love the balance of raunchy comedy and heartfelt drama in Judd Apatow productions like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” The Big Sick, and even Superbad (hey it’s got a heart too)…I freaking love the outlandish nature of “Pineapple Express,” a movie that is a great chunk of comedic dialogue/improvisation, outrageous action set pieces that show they were using their budget like it was no problem, and a weird anti-drug message even though I highly doubt many of the people involved took it to heart long since this movie’s release!

I guess you could say there’s some heartfelt drama in the scenes in which the main characters’ friendship develops, but…I never took it that seriously!

Thing is, I always saw “Pineapple Express” as a hella FUNNY movie! Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s typical mix of sharp wit and blunt outrageousness is elevated to action-comedy levels, all of the actors are having a ton of fun with their roles, and…what is my favorite scene in this? I don’t know!!

Is it the scene in which a panicked (and stoned) Dale (Rogen) tries to explain to his dealer Saul (James Franco) about the murder he just witnessed? Hilarious! Is it the long fight sequence between Dale, Saul, and the hilariously unreliable Red (Danny McBride)? Hilarious! Is it the chase scene where Saul has to kick through the red-slushee-drenched windshield in order to see where he’s going? HILARIOUS!

How about the whole final act in which Dale and Saul have to fight their way out of the villains’ lair, which is already invaded by Asian mobsters? (They never specify which “Asians,” so…racist? I dunno.) Even many of the violent deaths are so random and gratuitous, I just can’t help but laugh!

And in between all these hilarious sequences are some nicely handled down-to-earth moments where characters are just sitting around and talking. The director was David Gordon Green, who’s best known for low-key slices of life (and “Halloween 2018”), so seeing this director’s style brought to a Rogen/Goldberg script produced by Judd Apatow is actually pretty awesome. There’s a scene early into the proceedings as Dale and Saul just hang out and shoot the breeze, and it actually feels like a real conversation as opposed to many mainstream comedies were they’re improvising just because they desperately want to be funny.

I mentioned the actors having a ball with their respective roles, and there are A LOT of them here! Seth Rogen is great at being…well, still Seth Rogen, but still the likable type of Seth Rogen. James Franco is hilarious as an intentional extension of Brad Pitt’s drug dealer in “True Romance.” But there’s also Danny McBride as the hilariously unreliable dealer who constantly goes back and forth between helping our heroes and betraying them; Gary Cole and Rosie Perez as the sinister drug lord and corrupt cop who are out to kill these guys; Kevin Corrigan (from True Romance–coincidence?) and Craig Robinson who deserve their own buddy comedy as the two hitmen sent out to dispose of Dale and Saul; James Remar and Bill Hader as a general and a private in a hilarious (I keep using that word) prologue set in the 1930s; Ed Begley Jr. and Nora Dunn as the parents of…Dale’s high-school girlfriend played by Amber Heard……

OK…even though the film makes it very clear Angie (Heard) is 18, it’s still kind of icky that this 20something-year-old process server is making out with his girlfriend by her locker.

Screw it, I love this crazy movie. I loved it as a teen and I love it as an adult.

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