“Pineapple Express” – Susan Granger reviews

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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.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).