Much of the weird, half-baked humor is based on the smug idea that watching clumsy stoners being high is amusing but, unless you’re joining them, it isn’t. And, except for Katherine Heigel’s pivotal role in “Knocked Up,” women are barely noticeable in Apatow productions.
Those “Superbad” dudes, Seth Rogen and James Franco, are back in another buddy comedy. This time, they’re potheads on the run with heavy helpings of graphic, gratuitous violence.
At first, their relationship is simple: process-server Dale Denton (Rogen) buys weed from Saul Silver (James Franco). Then Saul sells him some Pineapple Express, a high-grade of marijuana that’s so rare that, as Saul says, “It’s almost a shame to smoke it.”
Shortly after, when Dale witnesses a murder by a crooked cop (Rosie Perez) and a notorious drug lord, Ted Jones (Gary Cole), he flees, dropping his smoldering roach. Because it’s Pineapple Express, Ted traces it back to Saul. Soon Dale and Saul are running for their lives, pursued by Ted’s goons (Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson) and betrayed by Saul’s distributor, Red (Danny McBride).
With the success of “The 40 Year-old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” etc., Judd Apatow is Hollywood’s reigning comedy czar and he’s anointed director David Gordon Green (“All the Real Girls,” “Snow Angels”), teaming him with scripters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Superbad”), and Apatow credits inspiration for this stoners-on-the-run parody to Brad Pitt’s character in Quentin Tarantino’s “True Romance” (1993).
Much of the weird, half-baked humor is based on the smug idea that watching clumsy stoners being high is amusing but, unless you’re joining them, it isn’t. And, except for Katherine Heigel’s pivotal role in “Knocked Up,” women are barely noticeable in Apatow productions. While it will inevitably rate higher with its core audience of men, ages 16-30, particularly those who are stoned while viewing, for the rest of us, particularly adults, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pineapple Express” is a silly, reefer-raunchy 5. What’s most hypocritical is the cautionary warning against pot; that’s self-serving hypocrisy.