Back when I first got Superbad on Blu-ray, there was a short excerpt from Pineapple Express that I watched excitedly, assuming it would be as hilarious as Superbad. The clip seemed to suck pretty badly and I just didn’t get it. It was boring and just not funny at all! Then I saw a trailer for the movie before Forgetting Sarah Marshall and my interest was rekindled. Perhaps the clip just wasn’t funny in context (that’s actually the case, I found the same clip funnier when I was more familiar with the characters and context). So when Pineapple Express finally came out, I found myself really wanting to go fueled by enjoying Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Superbad and deciding that Judd Apatow-produced movies are just plain good.
I bought some tickets and watched on Wednesday and, despite the strength of the comedy, the movie just can’t quite match the humorous power of its predecessors. The story goes a little something like this: (SPOILER TIME!) Dale Denton (Seth Rogan) is one of those dudes who delivers subpoenas (can’t remember what they’re called) and a pretty heavy marijuana smoker. He spends all day alternating between putting on disguises to trick people into acknowledging who they are so he can serve then and smoking pot. His pot dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco) desperately wants to be friends with Denton who wants nothing to do with his pot dealer other than business. Saul receives a shipment of some very rare weed (THE Pineapple Express) and proceeds to sell this weed to Dale and Dale alone, while also revealing that he’s the only dealer in town who’s got any. While attempting to serve Ted Jones (Gary Cole), he witnesses him murdering a drug rival along with his policewoman co-conspirator. In his escape they realize he was smoking Pineapple Express and begin to chase him as hilarity ensues.
The story was more or less pretty good and funny and nothing beyond what you’d expect, with one minor exception. Denton has a girlfriend who is a high school student and whose life he puts in jeopardy inadvertently because of what he has witnessed. When he does visit her house and he attempts to convince her family to flee, I don’t think that I ever witnessed the moment where they came to believe him. Perhaps it was just strange editing, but one second they think he’s full of it and the next they’ve decided to flee to a hotel. They also kind of leave the relationship up in plot land once Dale and his compatriots have completely destroyed Ted’s operation. This is probably because it wouldn’t have been very funny at all, but I prefer not to have my plot points left dangling.
Should you go see Pineapple Express? If you like Judd Apatow-produced movies (and one that’s actually a bit tamer than his older ones, unless you find drug culture more offensive than sex), you will most likely enjoy this movie unless you have overhyped it. I’m torn in recommending seeing this movie in theaters just because it’s good compared to other comedies, but not great compared to the body of work that has preceded it. If you can catch a matinée or get someone to take you, go see it. Otherwise, just wait for the DVD: it’s the weakest of the Judd Apatow bunch, IMHO.