With minor exceptions like Drillbit Taylor, there’s nothing that can stop the Judd Apatow comedy train as it continues to plow through Hollywood. Pineapple Express is the latest effort from a crew of Seth Rogan, Danny McBride, and Bill Hader, each riding high on a wave of success, pun not intended.
Billed as a stoner-action comedy, Pineapple is a hilariously R-rated laugh fest dealing with two pot smokers caught up in a ring of crime lords after witnessing a murder. Those who aren’t fans of jokes revolving around marijuana will find themselves bored and looking for something else to do. There’s still a significant chance the smart writing, quick one-liners, and performances will draw in a full audience regardless.
As with nearly all of Apatow’s comedies, the draw is in the dialogue. Here, given the length of certain exchanges, it can seem to go on for too long. With little bearing on the plot, the gags drive the movie instead of the story which is a problem. The extended cut on this Blu-ray adds another five minutes of rather pointless exposition, albeit funny.
With the usual cast, the show stealer isn’t an Apatow regular, but James Franco. He plays the role of a friendly, misguided, and at times remarkably stupid pot dealer almost to the point where you believe he’s high for every shot. He’s the world’s perfect movie burnout, and has no problem humiliating himself for a laugh.
As with any action-stoner comedy (or this one, single action-stoner comedy), the fights here are completely absurd and ridiculous. At the 45-minute mark, audiences are given what could be one of the dumbest movie fights ever filmed, yet that’s why it works. A car chase is a comedy classic, and the insane finale loads up with as many laughs as bullets fired.
While Cheech and Chong may forever be king, Dale Denton and Saul Silver could easily take a close second to their pot smoking antics if their adventures ever continue. The movie doesn’t need a sequel, but the characters are so likeable spending a little more time with them couldn’t possibly be a bad thing.
Pineapple Express carries a clean, sharp AVC encode. Color is nicely saturated, and contrast is wonderful (excusing a few scenes where it runs hot). Black levels are deep without obscuring detail. Detail seems sparse for much of the film, particularly in faces and clothing. It never carries the hi-def pop of the best transfers. Thankfully, there is no apparent edge enhancement or DNR at work.
Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe this mundane TrueHD mix. The surrounds are dead for the entire movie. Even for the finale, loaded with gunfire and stray bullets, there is nothing to speak of. It’s front loaded to the point where a speaker check had to be performed to ensure they were working. Bass is also flat, almost non-existent. Car crashes and explosions are weak and flat. Dialogue is well mixed, and the stereo channels are used frequently, but it’s hardly an excuse for a missed opportunity.
Billed as a two-disc set, the second is only a digital copy. Everything, including two versions of the movie, sits on the first disc. Up first is an overloaded commentary with (deep breath) director David Gordon Green, actors Danny McBride, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Ed Begley, Jr, and writer Evan Goldberg. There’s a lot of talking, and everyone obviously had fun, although making-of information is sparse.
There’s a ton of deleted, extended, or alternate footage here. Gag reels, line-o-rama’s loaded with improv, a funny direct-o-rama that looks at Green’s direction, raw footage from the set, and multiple table reads are included. Featurettes begin with a nicely done making-of (21:08), a segment on the action scenes (12:19), another on injuries sustained while filming, while yet another short one details stuntman Ken Jeong.
Multiple extras use the actors in additional skits like Red and Jessica’s Guide to a Successful Marriage. Others include Item 9 (filled with cameos), and Saul’s Apartment, offering 13 minutes of random improv. There’s also an odd one with Ed Begley Jr. as he discusses his cleaning product for the cameras as he works. It should be noted that many of these features look simply awful, to the point where you’ll try and focus your eyes to make out anything going on.