MONKEY REVIEW: Pineapple Express

August 10, 2008

Initially entertaining but ultimately underwhelming stoner comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as pot customer and dealer who go on the run after Rogen witnesses a murder. The movie unfolds pretty much the way you expect it to, with almost no surprises. Rogen, essentially playing the same guy he played in Knocked Up, and Franco keep it watchable with their mostly funny repartee, with Franco giving his stoner character a surprisingly touching amount of depth. Danny McBride also stars as the dealer Franco buys from, and he manages to steal almost all the scenes he’s in. After an amiable first half, the movie devolves into a pretty conventional, if none too convincing action film, where Rogen and Franco not only suddenly know how to operate automatic weapons, but are able to kill people with ease. The violence isn’t cartoony, which would have made the movie’s shift in tone less jarring, but instead is brutal and gory. It’s the kind of wild shift that makes people like certain cult films, but those films usually are on the bad side, while Pineapple Express aspires to be an actual good film. The movie’s other miscalculation is to make the villains as bumbling and goofy as Rogen and Franco’s characters, which all but removes any suspense as to how things are going to turn out. Pineapple Express is a long ways from the kind of action comedy hybrid that Eddie Murphy pulled off with ease in movies like Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours.

MONKEY RATING: THREE MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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