It seems like genres these days get more and more specific and more and more bizarre. Right up there at the top is the possibly new genre of "stoner action comedy", and to the best of my knowledge, is populated only by Pineapple Express. The latest film from the Judd Apatow crew, it tells the story of stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) who witnesses a murder and then goes on the run with his friendly drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco).
Rogen is excellent as Dale, taking an interesting turn as the more responsible part of a duo, though of course, "more" is a relative term. James Franco is effortless as Saul, an innocuous drug dealer, so laid back he could be a champion limbo dancer, who spends most of his haul on a retirement home for his grandmother. Like all of Judd Apatow's Frat Pack comedies, a huge amount of the film's success is dependent on the rapport between the leads, and Rogen and Franco have a simply superb rapport.
Of course, all this buddy-buddy stuff wouldn't be much good if the rest of the film wasn't funny, but that's not an issue to worry about here, because Pineapple Express is hilarious, packed full of jokes and hilarious scenes. The stand out moment for me is when Dale calls his ex-girlfriend Angie to win her back, telling her through the tears that he loves her. She responds by telling him that she wants to marry him, prompting the fastest and one of the most hilarious about-faces I've ever seen. Seth Rogen's face and entire demeanour completely flip in an instant, from love and desperation to an "I've made a huge mistake" that GOB Bluth could be proud of.
Danny R McBride is fantastic as Red, Saul's dealer, who apparently has the ability of being impossible to kill, taking being thrown through a sink, having his head smashed through a wall, two shots to the gut and a spray of bullets from a machine gun in the duration of the film, only resulting in him being a bit drowsy. The fight scene between he, Saul and Dale is one of the funniest scenes I've seen all year, and is a real high point of the film. Craig Robinson (more famous for his role as The Office's Darryl) is characteristically superb as the henchman with feelings, Matheson, generating much of the laughs in every scene he inhabits. Ed Begley Jr has a great little cameo as Angie's father, with some great deliveries of some great lines ("Angie, you're a fucking idiot. I say that with love.").
Without doubt, Pineapple Express is one of the funniest films I've seen this year, with some great gags, hilarious sequences and fantastic performances from pretty much everyone involved. It may not be the equal of Superbad, say, but it is more than a match for last year's Knocked Up. A hugely entertaining way to spend two hours, this is probably the best comedy of the summer. A.
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