Friday, August 15, 2008

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is yet another success for Apatow Productions. He and his crew rose to fame by bringing back the fun of sex comedies, but they've branched out, and Express' humor is all about pot, with Seth Rogen and James Franco's characters being high for most of the picture. Whereas they usually do straight comedy, this is sort of an action hybrid as the two friends get in trouble with crooked cops and drug lords and end up experiencing quite a few thrills. In some ways, it's more like a lower-intensity action film than a comedy, with most of the humor arising just from the way the characters talked instead of more discrete jokes. The pacing is a little strange, as several scenes, usually involving baked characters, go on for quite a bit longer than you'd expect, as they just keep riffing off each other. I wasn't bothered by it at all though, it fit the characters and gave it a unique feel that I enjoyed a lot.

The cast is full of the usual suspects, with funny, small parts played by Gary Cole, Craig Robinson, Bill Hader, and others. Like with Superbad, Rogen co-wrote with friend Evan Goldberg and does a solid job, but he gave the best part to Franco. I saw one reviewer say he was the funniest stoner character since Brad Pitt in True Romance, and it's not a thought I'd disagree with, although Pitt didn't have nearly as much time to be hilarious. Franco sometimes seems off-putting to me, but he really is great in this movie. He's never without something strange yet poignant to say, and has a great chemistry with Rogen. The movie is full of "bromance", possibly too-friendly, ambiguously gay camaraderie between two guys. There are tons of tropes from normal, heterosexual relationship development in other movies, and once in a while they get downright obvious with it to comedic effect. I haven't seen any of Green's other work as a director, but he does a fine job balancing the action and comedy. The climactic encounter is probably too over the top, although I strongly suspect it was intentional. I liked it quite a lot, and you should see it if you can see the humor in stoned idiots just acting like stoned idiots.

No comments: