Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fun-damentally UnPredictable

Fun-damentally UnPredictable
by Michael Bernard
for The Corner News

After 10 years of shopping the script around Hollywood, writing team Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan (Superbad, Knocked Up) take on the stoner movie genre with Pineapple Express. Tagged by studios and production companies as 'fundamentally unmakeable' due to its R-rating and juvenile target audience, the conventional wisdom now has to be questioned.

Rogan and James Falco star as potheads intertwined by that precarious relationship of pot dealer and customer, with Pineapple Express the primo pot that at one point is described as so good it is like 'killing a unicorn'. The priceless chemistry of the plot plays with the various annoyances the stereotypical pothead experiences, notably, Rogan barely likes Falco. Rogan's love life is equally diametrically hilarious, as his 25 year old character dates an 18 year old girl still attending High School.

While billed as a stoner movie, sometimes it seems to try too hard to reinforce this fact with plenty of gratuitous smoking. The plot thickens when Rogan's job as a process server crosses paths with The Source of the Pineapple Express. A way older than you remember over-the-hill Rosie Perez does well as a crooked cop.

If I had one real complaint, it is the eventual unresolved disappearance of the romantic plot. Also, the trouble our duo unwittingly fall into seems a far stretch--intercontinental pot war--even for stoner movie outrageousness.

The real story of the movie is the friendship that the Rogan and Falco develop while trying to overcome their widening predicament. Maybe one of the other effects of Pineapple Express is psychic power, as our duo magically evade the bad guys several times. So much so that the one
moment of self-analysis late in the movie where Rogan blames their trouble on being high sounds counter-intuitive.

The genius of this movie is in the awkward juxtaposition of characters and situation that
remind us of our own run-ins with common sense. Pineapple Express is not the new Half Baked, but definitely outshines less memorable and less hilarious ones that shall remain nameless. The final action sequence is cartoonish on a Tank Girl level. Express also suffers, as most comedies
do, by over-saturating the audience with the jokes and gags in never-ending TV commercials, to the point that by the time you see it in context in the movie, some things are no longer popping like burning seeds with humor anymore.

My favorite part is Falco's wardrobe, which my own friends would find oddly familiar. The best part--his 'shark-eating-fox' t-shirt. Fans of the previous Rogan-Goldberg movies will love this movie, with stoners who liked them enjoying even more. These guys are young, good, and making a niche audience for their borderline outsider slapstick routines, and here to stay as Hollywood's new In Posse.