Sunday, 21 September 2008

Pineapple Express Review

After 135 movies I would have expected more of a titter, a chortle or a good hearty laugh. In Bruges had a fair few giggles but it was never really an out-and-out chuckle fest. Wall-E was more adventure than comedy (although Presto, the short before, tickled the funny bone like no other Pixar). As for the real 'comedies' of the year most have fallen flatter than a Jim Davidson gig at a Mosque. Thank Holy Allah for Pineapple Express then.

In the great tradition of movies about people getting high and then shit happening (see Cheech and Chong, Harold and Kumar) we have Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) a process server who enjoys 'hits from the bong', and his dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) getting high before, you guessed it, shit hapens. The shit in this instance is Dale witnessing the murder of a rival drug dealer by Ted Jones (Gary Cole). When Dale drops his joint full of Pineapple Express, an easily traceable brand of herb, he and his pharmacist have to go on the run. Something easier to do when not as high as the Northern Star.

I don't say it lightly that this is one of the funniest films of the year. And it would have to be because the story blows. Straight out of a bad 80's movie the film jumps from one stupid scene to the next with absolutely no regard for plot logic or cohesion. But who the hell cares when it contains some of the best dialogue of the year and a performance in James Franco that makes me believe he could actually play the Buckley biopic. Not based on this role you understand its just he now has that wonderful actorly thing called 'range'. I don't want a thousand angry Jeff fans saying he weren't no stoner because then I'd have to counter-act by saying 'did you really mean to use a double negative' and the argument would just go on and on...

Anyway, Franco is probably the most adorable drug dealer ever (certainly nicer than the ones who hang out outside my house), all puppy dog eyes and 'aw shucks' looks. That his Saul and Dale aren't actually friends at the start of the film gives a new take on the 'friends get high' genre and helps the film in its weaker moments. One thing you might not be expecting though is the high level of violence on screen. Its all funny and silly but coming on the back of a double bill of Eden Lake it did lead me to wince even at the comical Daewoo death. Thankfully the 'violence can be funny' spirit took over and as the credits rolled the closest film to compare it to seemed to be Pulp Fiction. High praise for High Times Readers.

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