Pineapple Express

August 6, 2008 by  

So it’s been a few summers in a row now that Apatow & Co. have completely dominated the raunchy comedy genre, and they’ve had a good thing going. I have to commend Apatow again and again for getting his old guys from past failed shows like “Freaks & Geeks” and “Undeclared” work because they’re talented and their comedy style is different than the typical Hollywood canned sitcommy humor we usually get.

I’ve been very kind to the Apatow movies, while they have been criticized for being too long or the characters weren’t engaging enough, or the story wasn’t great or maybe it wasn’t all it was hyped to be–I’ve always maintained that this is fresher stuff than what you usually get out of Hollywood, and give it a chance. Enjoy it because it won’t last.

I hope to God “Pineapple Express” is not the last entry, because it would leave as sour a taste on your mouth as a roach would. I’m not saying the movie is bad, but it’s probably the weakest effort put forth so far.

From the moment I saw the trailer, I was psyched about this. This looked like our generation’s Cheech & Chong with Seth Rogen again put in the spotlight (he carried the torch well in “Knocked Up”) and James Franco finally in a role that seems like he was born to play, at least since his “Freaks & Geeks” days. The plot looked pretty hilarious, about two stoners who get caught up in a drug scandal and the cops are involved. On top of that, you’ve got the writing team of “Superbad” (including Rogen) which was one of the funniest movies of 2007.

So why do you see the “however” coming? Well, because this movie misfires on things that I thought it would completely nail perfectly. There are “talky” scenes that go nowhere, plot points that have none, and no real direction on the story or why certain people are involved (why is Rogen’s character being into talk radio significant, and why is he dating a hot teenager?). I thought these excursions would go somewhere, but they really don’t. Especially the teenage love affair (that has a rather weak payoff) because there was almost a whole movie just in that little subplot. The script becomes fairly convoluted and the director doesn’t know when to turn the camera off on a scene in which two characters sit there and try to improvise a funny line, but can’t seem to, so they’ll just repeat themselves or just do one of those “improv pauses” and hope we laugh.

The criticism of the Apatow movies being “too long” will not only be a highlighted one, but I’m really going to have to step in and say it myself: dude, a raunchy comedy shouldn’t consistently be more than 100 minutes, and even that’s pushing it. Every one of these movies just feels like there’s a 90 page script turned into 2 hour long movie because of these obviously improved scenes, and when you keep squeezing more and more minutes out of these actors, you see they have nothing left and you CONTINUE to let the camera roll? Save it for the “outrageous unrated and totally out of control” DVD, but when you pay good money to see a movie these days, we shouldn’t be squirming and waiting for the plot to develop.

Now, I criticize because I love, and I think these guys could have done better. A lot better. Are there funny scenes? Absolutely. Will you laugh your ass off at some of the hi-jinx? Of course! Have we seen this all before, and done better? Indeed we have. You will definitely laugh, you will definitely see some cool stuff in this movie. It’s worth a viewing. But it’s not without its flaws and they must be outed because now they’re all making enough money to deserve it.

I know that’s weird logic, but I think the thing is: OK, you came onto the scene, and it was fresh and funny. Now it’s getting a bit stale. Don’t get soft, push yourselves. I know they can do better than this.

I almost was hoping Paul Rudd was gonna come out of nowhere and save a scene or two, but he must be reserved for the next one. I guess they could use a break now and then.

Overall, yeah this is a stoner-action-adventure with some brilliant moments, some extreme violence, and some really funny parts. But as a whole it doesn’t really work, and that’s a shame.

My rating: :?

Family value: Let’s see…massive drug use, lot of people being killed including police officers, as well as police officers included in the drug scandal…yeah, don’t take the kids.

:[ :choler:

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