Pineapple Express (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Sep 9 2008Hollywood’s relationship with the demon weed has undergone a number of switchbacks over the past century, from the demonic giggling maniacs of ‘Reefer Madness’ to the heroic giggling maniacs of ‘Up in Smoke’. But it’s largely been depicted as a fringe activity for peacenik hippy throwbacks, not average working Joes.
‘Pineapple Express’ has its fair share of burn-outs, not least James Franco’s dealer Saul. But our hero is legal process server Dale (Seth Rogen, above), whose daily grind is sweetened by judicious application of the kind leaf. This routine is cruelly shattered, however, when Dale witnesses a murder and is forced to go on the run with only the babbling, perma-stoned Saul for company.
Written by the ‘Superbad’ team of Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Judd Apatow, ‘Pineapple Express’ is a knowing throwback to ’70s stoners-on-the-run comedies, replete with dirty cops, gangsters and manic slapstick violence. But, as directed by indie guru David Gordon Green, the film also displays considerable sweetness, a lightness of touch and a depth of character that set it far above its forebears.
At its heart the film stands as an impassioned love letter to the jazz baccy. A brief midway moment of hazy regret– ‘We’re useless when we’re high!’– is quickly brushed aside, followed by an upbeat scene in which our heroes sell drugs to minors. It climaxes with a marathon shoot-out in a weed warehouse. But there’s still time for a gloriously unexpected coda, a moment of quiet reflection and narrative ingenuity that confirms ‘Pineapple Express’ as the finest comedy of the year.
Author: Tom Huddleston