PSA: Pineapple Express (2008), or Buds+Buddies=Comedy Gold

13 05 2009

Seth Rogen and James Franco star in what ended up being one of my favorite films of last year, Pineapple Express. They play two smokers-turned-pals who are being hunted down by a drug kingpin who caught one of them witnessing a murder he committed. It doesn’t sound too hilarious, but it’s played with a big wide grin the whole way through. Saul and Dale, a dealer and a process server, are bound by the strong ties that entwine a smoker and his supplier, and although their friendship is basically non-existent at first, the relationship blossoms and we get some real, genuine buddy action going on in a relatively short amount of time. While on the run from crooked cops and hired thugs, they get into a bunch of scrapes, but they always help each other out in the end with the unstoppable power of bromance!

For a buddy movie, it’s smart about who its audience is, and knows what it takes to make them laugh. Filled with obscure pop culture references (who but Seth Rogen could reference the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a major motion picture), goofball action sequences, and enough quippage to make Dennis Miller cream his pants from a mile away, Pineapple Express understands the art of comedy enough to know that you stick to what you’re good at, which the cast and crew do to quite an extent.

If I had to name a single flaw, it would be the lack of the supporting cast’s standout moments. Gary Cole, Craig Robinson, and Ed Begley Jr. are all in the movie, hilarious talents all, but I was left wanting. They all had some screen time, to be sure, but I think that they should have perhaps given them a bit more to work with. The characters themselves are pretty interesting, and if they had been given some better lines, I could see them really standing out in their own right.

It’s a raucous, bawdy comedy inspired partly by the antics of 70s buddy flicks, partly by balls-to-the-wall action films, and partly by the genius in Seth Rogen’s head. It gels together in just the right way to make something fast-paced, witty, and incredibly silly in tolerable doses. Check it out; I think it’s one of the best comedies to come out in ’08, and maybe you will too. I give Pineapple Express 8 1/2 creamed Dennis Miller pants out of 10.

Sorry that one was so short, but my move is imminent, and I REALLY need to get back to work. Thanks for being so understanding, and thanks in advance for coming back tomorrow to read my review of The Constant Gardner!!!