Pineapple Express (movie review)

Review #4 on Escapist Forums. I hope you enjoy it. As usual, I welcome all criticism.

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is a movie about stoners who spark their joints with the flaming property damage they are responsible for. If I had seen this movie four years ago, a time in my life when I thought Napoleon Dynamite could only be improved with dramatic explosions and a head full of pot smoke (as opposed to cutting out 85 minutes of footage and then hanging the director with it), I would've thought it were the best thing ever. Unfortunately, I'm seven months away from being a snobby twenty-something, and I'd have to siphon blood from my head until I'm mentally thirteen years old before I could enjoy either movie again.

But enough about Napoleon Dynamite...

Pineapple Express is not a thoroughly bad movie; it's just that it's a thoroughly unbalanced one. In equal proportions, action and comedy sit at opposite ends of a teeter-totter where action is a twelve hundred pound silverback gorilla and the current state of comedy is a ghost with an eating disorder. Rarely does a movie that treats all its genres and influences in equal shares come off as anything more than passable. The only movies that have gotten away with the timeshare approach to great effect have been films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and that's largely because those films deal with parody wearing a poker face. The 'Buddy Cop' genre is action sprinkled sparingly with comedy, the 'Rom-Com' is a chick flick loaded with innuendos so that the man can have his cake and eat it out eat it too, etc. etc. The point is that there's a brick wall between most film genres, and it's a lot more discrete and effective to sneak past the barrier when its pitch black to borrow elements from the other side than it is to hire a wrecking crew to noisily tear it down in broad daylight. The only way Pineapple Express' genre blurring could be more invasive is if they had a marquee scrolling through the middle of the film telling you exactly what you're watching.

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A valiant effort, if nothing more

I wouldn't normally bother with these points if Pineapple Express was a satire, but it's not. The movie has the same brand of misplaced confidence as an obese preteen girl in middle school who wears skimpy dresses and stiletto heels made of tree stumps. Pineapple Express takes itself seriously, and it eliminates the tinge of parody that would've enabled it to be so much more.

Seth Rogen's performance doesn't break any new ground for him which allows James Franco to steal the show as the lonely drug dealer. Danny McBride is the third wheel to Franco and Rogen, much in the same way as Fogell was to Seth and Evan in last year's Superbad (except without the physical tenacity normally reserved for protagonists in first person shooters on the Xbox 360). The problem characters are Gary Cole and Rosie Perez as mob boss and crooked cop who have itchy trigger fingers and the reasoning of a six year old. Every shot they fire pokes a hole in the tone and credibility of the film, yet the mood doesn't entirely shift. It only drifts further and further away from what it should be while still in the frame of mind that it's right on course.

All these criticisms aside, Pineapple Express is still, by and large, entirely adequate. There's no glaring deficiencies like a terrible ending or a scene where everyone inexplicably speaks French and is a muppet. The only real fall out point is the film's posturing that begs to be taken seriously, which I pin on the indie scene pedigree of the director, David Gordon Green. He does have a vision of what he thinks Pineapple Express should be, it's just unfortunate that he has the wrong vision.

I'm also responsible for these (sorry)
Grand Theft Auto IV
PixelJunk: Monsters
Step Brothers

i am going to completely disagree with you. but first of all, let me say that you used a fdew too many analogies where they weren't really necessary.

i thought the movie was one of the funniest and most entertaining movies i have seen since borat. that might be the problem right there, you seem to be the kind of person who probably hates borat, so maybe its just that our taste in movies is so different. now, i am roughly the same age as you, you maybe have a few months on me, so its not a generation gap type of thing. the review was a very accurate one, you sounds like you could actually e a movie critic. but i have long since stopped even caring about the reviews the critics give to movies, because they crap all over everything. i watch movies to be entertained, and thats what pineapple express did for me, it entertained me. i could care less about how the genres didn't merge that well (i thought they blended action and comedy together quite well). well thats enough of a rant for one night.

I actually loved Borat, and the only thing I saw wrong with it was that it couldn't quite sustain itself. Borat was a pretty short movie as it stood, but to shave off a few more minutes would've made it one of the best comedies I've ever seen (I actually overlooked the long run time of Pineapple Express because every film from the Apatow camp runs long). Borat played the same ignorant American joke without evolving or escalating it.

I found the humour in Pineapple Express was generally hit or miss (and I do get pot jokes even though I'm not a pothead), and the action felt obligatory. The film certainly has it's moments, but on the whole it just doesn't live up to what it offers.

Superbad and Borat are my two favourite comedies in recent years. Also, I did overdo the analogies and what not because I felt I needed to lengthen what I originally had to a decent size, and also to add a bit of humour to it.

Maet:
Pineapple Express takes itself seriously, and it eliminates the tinge of parody that would've enabled it to be so much more.

Yes because making a slow motion ninja jump is serious. So is randomly finding guns with no need to reload and getting shot in the chest seven times and surviving. I have a strong suspicion that you missed half of the jokes and satire in this movie. I did too, because I was busy laughing my ass off, but i managed to catch those three.

Aside from being overly crowded with ovely complex analogies (like the 17th annual 'Wit'convention in which sarcasm was openly admitted to being the most popular form of wit due to it's low level of complexity and ease of use) it was a well written review. Keep it up.

Bakery:

Maet:
Pineapple Express takes itself seriously, and it eliminates the tinge of parody that would've enabled it to be so much more.

Yes because making a slow motion ninja jump is serious. So is randomly finding guns with no need to reload and getting shot in the chest seven times and surviving. I have a strong suspicion that you missed half of the jokes and satire in this movie. I did too, because I was busy laughing my ass off, but i managed to catch those three.

Aside from being overly crowded with ovely complex analogies (like the 17th annual 'Wit'convention in which sarcasm was openly admitted to being the most popular form of wit due to it's low level of complexity and ease of use) it was a well written review. Keep it up.

I don't know if you're being a sadistic bastard, or if you enjoyed the review. But which ever it is, you're treading a thin line.

I think you are half true though, the reviewer that is, The jokes were only applicable if you new what context they were in. Like the entire forest scene wasn't as funny because of how damn obscure the joke was. Obviously, potheads get paranoid, but many people didn't laugh at that specific joke, just at the slapstick humor. Kind of like when you see a clown in a tiny car, you don't laugh until the clown gets hit in the face with a pie.

The movie was enjoyable, but not overly funny in regards to every other film out there that is a comedy.
As most movies do, it targeted a specific audience, it's just that this audience was so obscure that it was nearly impossible to pinpoint which one it was. The amount i enjoyed the movie may of been severely impacted on by the idiots in the back row, but i'd rather see ironman for the 50th time then go see Pineapple express, even if i was offered free tickets.

im not a pothead either, but i still loved the movie. heres my top 5 (recent)movies in order
1: Dark Knight(obvious)
2: Pineapple express
3: Doomsday
4: Shoot em Up
5: Hot Fuzz

I enjoyed the review, but I would have to say this:

Pineapple Express was still hilarious. Bad, but it made me crack up a lot. That is what I went in the cinema for, and that's what I got out of it.

For those who haven't watched it yet, let me summarise the movie in one sentence.

Pineapple Express = Hot Fuzz + Dope.

Taxi Driver:
Excellent review, but I have a question. When you refer to the movie's unbalanced blending of genres, instead of a witty metaphor (which was enjoyable nonetheless) I would of preferred it if you had cited some examples, as in a part of the movie that shows its failure to blend the genres. I personally have not seen the movie as I follow the critics advice when it comes to going to see a move (Tropic Thunder beat Pineapple Express), and then I rent the others later.

I was originally thinking about doing a comparison review of Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder to reinforce those points. Pineapple Express is strictly paranoid pot humour followed by a totally serious car chase followed by more pot humour and a dramatic showdown. The movie clumsily shifts tones a half dozen or so times throughout.

Much to my surprise, I loved Tropic Thunder, and I'll review it in a few days time.

And to Bakery, the infinite ammo guns are just (deliberate) continuity errors, but it doesn't make the film any more or less serious (I don't think anyone in John Woo's Hardboiled ever reloaded). For the characters involved, the stakes were still high and it was do or die for them. If you told someone to craft a scene involving mob bosses, pot heads, and guns, that's pretty much exactly what they'd come up with, ninjas or not. My point was that for all the films outrageous scenarios, it still takes itself seriously. No character ever steps back and soberly realizes that what's going on around them is totally fucked up. That's why I said that there's no tinge of parody to put the whole film into the perspective many thought it should have.

I expected a lot more from this movie, i guess u have to be a stoner to really enjoy it :)

Not true. I've never smoked in my life and I loved it more than Superbad.

My problem was that the violence wasn't really comedic violence - it was actually pretty graphic, which made the transitions between comedy and action more jarring than they could have been. It definitely had its moments, though.

After the smoke clears from the theater after the first half of the movie, what I was left with was disappointment. The funniest part is that this is more of an anti-pot movie. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but this is the worst in the set of Seth Rogen movies. Each one of these movies; 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked-Up, and Superbad are much better comedies. I hope that the next film return to the good old times. For me Pineapple Express is based of a weak premise and the action feels like it came from a bad 90's movie; or Ace Ventura.

 

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