A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

August 08, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Pineapple Express

Release Date: August 6

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A stoner and his dealer are forced to go on the run from the police after the pothead witnesses a cop commit a murder.

Review: Heading into this movie, expectations were decidedly low. A stoner comedy with Judd Apatow's pudgy fingerprints all over it, starring James Franco, that douche from the Spiderman movies? This had all the earmarks of a cinematic abortion. Nestling into my seat, lap full of nachos, popcorn and milk duds (just in case I got the munchies), I began vigorously stroking my mustache and cast a monkey eye towards the screen. Pineapple Express was immediately on notice. Alas, the movie was like a good strand of weed. I left feeling enlightened, giggly and a bit dazed.

The loosely constructed plot revolves around stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) witnessing a murder involving crooked cops and druglords. In a panic, he drops his joint while fleeing the scene. This joint contains a rare strand of weed called Pineapple Express and the only person in town who sells it is Denton's dealer, Saul (James Franco). Fearing that the bad guys will be able to trace the joint back them, they run for their lives, helped (and hindered) along the way by Saul's pal Red (the scene-stealing Danny McBride).

Directed by acclaimed indie director David Gordon Green, Pineapple Express is as much a throwback to those cheesy late 80's/early 90's buddy comedy/action flicks as it is a typical Apatow production. The difference between Pineapple and films it emulates is that everything is done with tongue planted firmly in cheek and with intentionally hilarious results. Bad guys are known simply as "The Asians". Their lair is an abandoned warehouse armed with nameless goons toting machine guns, who all know karate. Synthesizer music is abound in the musical score and Huey Lewis wrote the theme song. It's all deliciously cheesy, and like the best Apatow vehicles, balances it's raunch with a good dose of heart.

The plot, while flimsy, moves along nicely and unlike some comedies (I'm looking at you Step Brothers), doesn't just seem like a loose collection of improvised jokes. The performances are all great, notably Franco, whose character transcends the usual one-dimensional stoner stereotypes. Danny McBride, who you probably don't know yet but will soon enough, is classic as the double agent friend who just won't die, no matter how much punishment is inflicted upon him. To ruin some of his one-liners would be a shame, but let me just say that the 'diner scene' towards the end with Rogen, Franco and McBride stands out as probably the funniest thing I've seen all year.

Not a fan of the sticky icky? Fear not. Sure, you've got your obligatory 'weed jokes', but I'm more of a Chaim Sixpack guy myself, and I still found plenty to laugh at. Finally, a stoner comedy for the whole family!

Like our fearless protagonists after a giant bong hit, I'm starting to lose ambition and am getting really hungry. This review is cashed.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos Out of 5