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"Pineapple Express"

Directed by David Gordon Green.
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride and Gary Cole.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  8/10/08


The trailer was great, and like all great comedies, the best laughs of "Pineapple Express" aren't in the trailer and the good times roll from start to finish in what was head-and-shoulders funnier than any other movie I have seen this year.  If "Tropic Thunder" is going to keep up with this, it's going to have to be "Old School"-level funny.

"Pineapple Express" is an action/comedy/stoner flick that manages to be pretty decent at all three genres (although, John Woo's status is safe); it's the story of a 20-something legal/process aide (Seth Rogen) who witnesses a murder by a local drug kingpin (Gary Cole) and his dirty cop partner (Rosie Perez), and then has to go on the run with his drug dealing contact Saul (James Franco) and Saul's drug-dealing middle-layer contact Red (Danny McBride) all while dealing with the highs--and, the lows--of doing a ton of Pineapple Express, a mythically powerful strain of weed that comes from a magical place somewhere in the Pacific.  Did I mention the Asian gang members and the gay, sweatsuit-wearing hitman that are also on the trail of the good guys?

I saw "Pineapple Express", mistakenly, on opening night; I tried to go see a free film but they ran out of spots, and faced with the prospect of having to sit through the latest "Mummy" sequel, I arrived at the local multiplex distraught, but talk about turning that frown upside down...when I learned that "Pineapple Express" opened on a Wednesday and there was a showing in 20 minutes, I nearly (NEARLY) jumped for joy.  And, for the sold-out audience in my theater that night, I think everyone left happy because everyone was laughing their asses off.  Nearly all of the comedy works: the sight gags, the Franco and McBride performances, the violence-for-laughs, the uncomfortable sex/toilet jokes (nothing better than the nonchalance with which the script handles the Rogen character's relationship with a high school senior), the racism, the drug jokes, the profanity, the end action sequence.  "Pineapple Express" is quite a ride, but somehow, it all works, and I'm already considering seeing it again in a theater.

As it stands, producer Judd Apatow may already have enough films under his collective writer/producer/director belt to have a greatest hits DVD box set come out right now and make billions; if it just included "Anchorman", "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", "Knocked Up", "Superbad", "Step Brothers" and "Pineapple Express", and had making-of extras included on a Blu-Ray format, I'd drop $100 for that right now.  What's interesting about this is that people like to talk regularly about Rat Pack/Frat Pack/whatever the Stiller/Vaughn/Wilson collective is called movies, but I don't think any of these groups released as many films over a five-year stretch that made a ton of money (like the films mentioned) plus garnered either critical acclaim or cult-level street cred as the Apatow films have done.  I don't even include films like "Talladega Nights" or "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" in that group, because the reviews (and the cash on "Walk Hard") weren't always blow-out for those movies.

"Pineapple Express" was great, no doubt.  Besides "Tropic Thunder" and "Hamlet 2" (although, the trailer shown for Dane Cook's "My Best Friend's Girl" was pretty damned good too, and I hate Dane Cook), I don't think that "Pineapple Express" is going to have too many challengers this fall.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09