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Pineapple Express (2008)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 1/6/2009

All Ratings out of
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/6/2009

Well, here we are again with yet another Judd Apatow produced comedy. It feels as if we get one of these every three months and they've become so ubiquitous that when I see a trailer for an adolescent comedy, I automatically assume that it's an Apatow project. (I couldn't believe it when I scanned the credits for Role Models and didn't see his name.) The issue here is that audiences and critics alike fall over themselves to praise these movies and none of them have ever wowed me. I thought that The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up both had their moments, but I didn't love either. I was even less enamored with Superbad and Drillbit Taylor, both of which were co-written by Seth Rogen. Now, we have Pineapple Express, another Apatow/Rogen project. Will it finally be the one which wins me over?

Rogen stars in Pineapple Express as Dale Denton, a process server who loves getting high and his underage girlfriend (although, his dream is to be a talk radio host). Dale buys his pot from Saul (James Franco), an amiable, if somewhat spacey dealer. Upon his latest visit to purchase the drugs, Dale learns that Saul has just received a shipment of a very rare marijuana called "Pineapple Express". Dale is honored to be able to try this new form and leaves Saul's a happy man. He goes to the home of Ted Jones (Gary Cole) to deliver a subpoena, but instead sees Jones and a female police officer (Rosie Perez) kill a man. Dale panics, drops his joint, and returns to Saul's. At the same time that Dale is learning that Ted Jones is the big supplier from where Saul's source gets his stuff, Jones is finding Dale's joint and instantly recognizing it as "Pineapple Express". Jones dispatches two hitmen to Saul's apartment, and Saul and Dale barely escape. Now on the run for their lives, these two stoners must find a way to either escape or appease the men who are after them.

In the DVD special features, Apatow admits that Pineapple Express was inspired by True Romance, specifically the Brad Pitt character in that film. This becomes very obvious while watching the movie. Franco's character is definitely similar to Floyd (Pitt's character), as he loves to smoke pot and sit on the couch and watch TV. (Although, Saul watches two TVs at once.) The movie is also reminiscent of True Romance in the sense that it contains a high level of violence. As with Tony Scott's film, Pineapple Express ends with a shoot-out and many people die.

It was probably a mistake for Apatow to invoke True Romance, because that film was enjoyable. Pineapple Express on the other hand, is not. This has to be one of the least funny and painful films of the year. Having heard so many good things about it, I sat waiting for the humor to arrive and it rarely did. The movie is simply one long boring conversation (usually about pot) over and over. There's nothing creative or clever going on here. Danny McBride, whom I've found very funny in other movies, such as The Heartbreak Kid and Hot Rod, has the one line here which made me laugh out loud, but even he's not very funny.

I place the blame squarely on Seth Rogen, for two reasons. First, he co-wrote the script and executive produced the film with Evan Goldberg, his writing and producing partner from Superbad. While I didn't love that movie, it did have its funny moments. Again, I didn't find the vast majority of Pineapple Express to be the least bit humorous. But, at least Superbad had interesting characters. Who are we supposed to like in Pineapple Express? The pot-addled loser? The drug-dealer? The other drug-dealer? None of these characters are the least bit appealing. (Unless you're a drug-addled loser or drug-dealer, then maybe you can identify with these guys.) Secondly, I blame Seth Rogen the actor. Well, that may be an over-statement, because I don't really think of Rogen as an "actor", as he plays the exact same character in every movie, and I think that he'd love for us to think that his characters reflect who he is in real life. He's always the guy who insists that he isn't very smart or cool and tries to find the easy way out of every situation. After seeing this in several movies, it's gotten very old.

Speaking of actors, it's a shame that so many usually reliable ones were in Pineapple Express, because this movie is a stinker. I've laughed at stoner movies in the past, but I simply failed to see the appeal of this movie. The jokes weren't funny and the violence seemed very out of place. As far as I'm concerned, the Pineapple Express can keep going.

Pineapple Express puts its foot through the windshield on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing nary any grain and no defects from the source material. The colors are good and the image is well-balanced, as far as not being too dark. However, the picture is somewhat soft and flat at times. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround effects are very good, most notably during the action scenes. The in-film music shows good reproduction. The action scenes also provide solid bass effects.

The single-disc DVD release of Pineapple Express contain an assortment of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY featuring Apatow, Ed Begley Jr., Rogen, Danny McBride, Franco, Evan Goldberg, and David Gordon Green. As one would expect, there is a lot more joking than commenting in this commentary. Still, the speakers do manage to talk about the movie, discussing the budgetary limitations, the characters, and the locations. The DVD features four EXTENDED & ALTERNATE SCENES which run about 10 minutes. There's an extended take of a dialogue scene between Dale and Saul, and a longer version of the final scene, both of which are sort of interesting. The DVD has a 5-minute GAG REEL. "The Making of Pineapple Express" (21 minutes) offers comments from the cast and crew, as well as some on-set and rehearsal footage. Apatow admits that the movie is influenced by True Romance. There is a discussion of how the story evolved and the cast & characters. This is interspersed with comments about the production and Director David Gordon Green.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also brought Pineapple Express to Blu-ray Disc. The film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look especially good, and they are never oversaturated. The image is never too dark or bright. The depth is notably good and the image shows a high level of detail. The Disc provides a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.8 Mbps. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Sony has always delivered quality audio and this track is no exception. The stereo effects are prevalent and nicely detailed. Surround sound effects contribute to the action sequences, and the gunshots and explosions in the finale really liven up the subwoofer.

The Pineapple Express contains the extras found on the single-disc DVD, plus many others. We get three DELETED SCENES which run about 3 minutes. All of these are brief and certainly weren't missed from the finished film. "The Action of Pineapple Express" (12 minutes) looks at the action scenes and stunts in the film. We get a behind-the-scenes look at how the car chases and gunfights were done. "Phone Booth" (6 minutes) contains two versions of Dale's phone call to Angie -- with Angie's role being played by Apatow. "Line-o-Rama" (3 minutes) offers very quick cuts of alternate takes from various scenes. "Direct-o-Rama" (4 minutes) shows various scenes and we can hear Green asking the actors to try their lines in different ways. "Item 9" (4 minutes) is a faux 50s educational film when shows the dangers of marijuana (there is some nice stunt casting here). "Saul's Apartment" (14 minutes) offers four oddities with Franco and McBride on Saul's couch talking with different guests. "Raw Footage" (33 minutes) offers unedited versions of four scenes, so we get to hear all of the ad-libbing. Ed Begley Jr. gives us a tour of his home business in "Begley's Best" (6 minutes). (Is this real?) "Red and Jessica's Guide to Marriage" (4 minutes) has McBride and an actress which I couldn't identify discussing their unhealthy relationship. "Injury Report" (5 minutes) has Rogen, Franco, and McBride showing how they got hurt during production. "Stuntmaster Ken" (3 minutes) is an interview with Ken Jeong. "Rehearsal 3/6/07 - Police Liaison" (6 minutes) and "Table Read 3/4/06" (9 minutes) show the actors prepping for the movie. "Comic-Con Panel" (8 minutes) offers a Q & A with the cast and crew in San Diego. The final extra is the RED BAND TRAILER for the film.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long