Saturday, August 09, 2008

REVIEW: Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

Year: 2008
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny R. McBride, Gary Cole, Craig Robinson
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

After seeing most of the previous Apatow films and the actual trailer for the movie, Pineapple Express was bound to become the next big thing from those guys. The trailer looked very funny, but also made the movie look like it was going to be more story developed compared to something like Superbad. My only grip that had me alittle worried were the films reviews which weren't as high as previous Apatow related films. I mean they were still good, but not great. I was very eager and somewhat curious to see this film since the reviews haven't been much positive. I had to see for myself so my friend and I bought tickets Thursday for the late night showing.

Plot Outline:
Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a process server who loves to smoke marijuana any time of the day. His dealer, Saul (James Franco), is only happy to further provide him with his drug habit. On a routine call for his job, Dale witnesses a murder at the home of Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Having nowhere else to run, he turns to Saul and the two of them try to figure out whats going on.

The script is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who also wrote the story for Superbad. The movie starts off good by introducing us to these characters that we will grow to love. These characters are entertaining and fun to watch. We get the usual raunchy jokes that are now a common thing in any Apatow related movie. These jokes are pretty funny, but don't come close to some of the jokes we have heard in previous Apatow films. Even though the movie started off good, the story goes pretty much downhill after the first half. The jokes stop being funny and the story ends up going a more serious route kind of like in Hot Fuzz. The only thing is that Hot Fuzz totally nailed this formula, but here it just doesn't seem to go well with movie. Theirs also many moments in the film that seem totally unrealistic and inaccurate, but these are just small things that you shouldn't take too seriously. In the end, were left with some un-answered questions that pretty much leave you hanging. If I had to put the Apatow related films that I have seen in order judging them for their story and creativity, it would go something like this: Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express and Step Brothers.

Seth Rogen plays as Dale Denton and hes great for his role. I very much enjoyed him playing the main character in Knocked Up and he does a good job here too. He fits the character of Dale smoothly and I couldn't imagine anyone else replacing him. James Franco plays as Saul Silver and he too is good in his role. His character shares good chemistry with Rogen's character. I honestly didn't expect much from him, but I was pleasantly surprised. Danny R. McBride plays as Red and hes decent here. Even though his character is probably the only one that's going to be filled with questions, I still liked his character. Gary Cole plays as Ted Jones and I somewhat enjoyed him here, but his character can be one dimensional at times. We also have Craig Robinson playing as Matheson and I personally loved him in this role. His lines are good and generally made the movie a lot funnier.

The visual look for the film is pretty good, but not great. The films source is in good condition and I didn't notice any film grain. Colors look somewhat oversaturated and dull. They certainly aren't bad, but they just aren't as vibrant as I would have liked it to be. I think Forgetting Sarah Marshall consisted of better colors, but I guess it isn't fair to compare the two since the later is filmed mostly on tropical islands. Flesh tones are generally good and seem spot on for the most part. Detail can be good at times, but can also look alittle soft. For the most part, the detail holds up and close up shots look wonderful. Their are a few times where the image doesn't consist of much detail even if the camera is filmed close up. This is still a good looking film especially for a comedy.

The soundtrack in Pineapple Express is kind of weird. The film really doesn't have much music in it which comes off as a surprise considering the trailer had that wonderful M.I.A. song that went well with the trailer. That's missing here and instead the movie relies more on its dialogue rather than the music. This isn't generally a bad thing, but it is kind of a let down since Knocked Up, Superbad and even Forgetting Sarah Marshall had good music. The dialogue in the film is great and everyone has something to say. Bass is surprisingly much better than the previous Apatow related films. This is mostly because their are many action scenes in Pineapple Express that make use of its bass. We have a good amount of explosions and the bass hold up pretty well.

Pineapple Express is an entertaining movie that I generally enjoyed. The story is pretty good and mildly funny if you don't take it too seriously. Sure its got problems here and their, but its still a fun movie. I enjoyed the cast even though their were a few people I wasn't too impressed with. The visual look of the film is good for a comedy film like this. The soundtrack is lacking good music, but it makes up for it with its bass. I still think Knocked Up was the better film out of the Apatow pictures that I have seen. I can recommend this film to those who have seen films like Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Even though it isn't as great as those films, its still better than Step Brothers. The film is worth watching, but just don't go in with high expectations because you might be disappointed.

Grade: C+


micky said...

good review farzan. i also didnt think this movie was that funny. it was funny, but not like superbad.

Monique Elisabeth said...

I think that even though Superbad and Pineapple Express were made by the same people, they're very different movies, and I wonder if you guys would've like this one more, if you weren't comparing it to other movies involving Rogen and Apatow, and instead judging it against other movies in its own genre. I think that as far as stoner movies and action buddy comedies go, it's really a good one, and is definitely in a top league amongst those kinds of films like Harold and Kumar, or Lethal Weapon.

And Farzan, I didn't think your comments in your review were all that negative. Are you sure you didnt' like it, just a little more than a C+?

Farzan said...

Thanks Micky

Thanks Monique for sharing your thoughts. I know that I shouldnt be comparing this movie to other Apatow related films, but its kind of hard not to. I even read an interview where Seth Rogen commented on how hes trying to make a cross over film involving Pineapple Express and Superbad. As for the movie itself, I did enjoy it. I thought it was a good film that was worth wactching, but nothing more. I found the grade of C+ to be right on how I felt about the movie.

Jaccstev said...

I was OK and had some funny parts but in general was disappointing. I guess if you go stoned it may be better, but what isn't. I had been looking forward to this for months so maybe thats why I was so disappointed. If you due A lot of weed you'll love it if not maybe not as much. Rogen was again entertaining and Franco was different in a very good way.

Matt Cyganik said...

Farzan has it pretty spot on. I gave it a B-. It's funny, just has a lot of flaws.

Mitch Harper said...

I will admit I was a bit let down because I had such high expectations.

In response to Monique,
The one thing that this film lacked compared to other Apatow films was simply the chemistry. We knew all along it was gonna be different and far out compared to the other films. This one just didn't have the same high level of execution on one-liners. It was very choppy at best. Funny movie still but not better than other Stoner flicks as well.