This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
February 25th, 2008:
Lazy stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen
) has only one reason to visit his equally lazy dealer Saul Silver (James Franco
): to purchase weed, specifically, a rare new strain called Pineapple Express. But when Dale becomes the only witness to a murder by a crooked cop (Rosie Perez
) and the city's most dangerous drug lord (Gary Cole
), he panics and dumps his roach of Pineapple Express at the scene. Dale now has another reason to visit Saul: to find out if the weed is so rare that it can be traced back to him. And it is. As Dale and Saul run for their lives, they quickly discover that they’re not suffering from weed-fueled paranoia; incredibly, the bad guys really are hot on their trail and trying to figure out the fastest way to kill them both.What to Expect:
Now we can officially proclaim 2008 as the year of the stoner! Marijuana vending machines are unveiled in California for "medicinal purposes." Then, to keep all those "sick" people entertained, two of the funniest comedies are going to be centered on their favorite medicine. The first is the highly anticipated Harold and Kumar sequel, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
. The second is Pineapple Express which is being produced by the new godfather of comedy, Judd Apatow
. Both movies have a proven team behind them and each is a bud-dy film where the two heroes are chased by superior forces and the only thing that saves them is their friendship and pot. Yet in spite of their obvious similarities, Pineapple Express is going to smoke Harold and Kumar at the box office because it is much funnier and comes from a much more established comedic team. Article continues below
Pineapple Express' greatest advantage is that it is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg based on a story by Judd Apatow. These are the same guys who brought us last year's big hit, Superbad
. The story centers around a twenty four year old stoner and underachiever, Dale Denton, who went to a junior college and got a worthless degree which did not open many doors for him. His father finally hooked him up with a job as a process server, which gives him ample time to get stoned in between serving people. He has a very attractive girlfriend who he cares for, except there is one problem: she is still in high school. Dale continues to cruise alone until one fateful visit to his drug dealer friend, Saul, who is your stereotypical long haired, goofy pot dealer ala Dante from Grandma's Boy or Floyd from True Romance. Saul only takes one thing seriously and that's getting high. He introduces Dale to a new super strain of pot called Pineapple Express which Dale promptly takes to his next job: serving a man named Ted Jones his debt collection papers. He starts this seemingly routine job like every other job, by parking across the street and smoking a joint. Then suddenly his high is killed when he witnesses Ted and a cop murder a man. Dale panics and tries to drive off dumping his joint in the process, but before he can, Ted and the cop notice him. They run outside and find his roach (the end of a joint) which they recognize to be Pineapple Express. Dale goes back to Saul where, to his dismay, he learns that the pot is rare enough to be traced back to him. The two get extremely paranoid and run off, which is a smart move because Ted dispatched two hit men, Budlofsky (Bud-lofsky, get it?) and Matheson, to rub out the two friends. Yet Saul and Dale are so paranoid from the weed that they are constantly able to evade the hit men. Ted begins to believe that Dale is actually a super assassin, not a paranoid stoner and so a game of cat and mouse begins. The odds are stacked against our heroes with trained killers and a corrupt cop hot on their tail but their little green guardian angel, Pineapple Express always keeps them a step ahead, until Saul is captured visiting his grandma. Dale must now take on an army of henchmen and rescue his friend from certain death.
As you can see, this is a pretty unoriginal, uninspired story, but that is ok because what makes Apatow movies great is not the story but the characters. If you think about it, neither Knocked Up
nor Superbad really had a very creative plot either, but both were extremely funny. The secret to Apatow's success is to get funny actors and allow them to go off script and improvise. He just films hundreds of hours of film and then chooses the most hilarious scenes. In fact, over a million feet of film were used for Knocked Up alone. Unfortunately, Apatow is not directing this movie, but he brought in the right talent to make sure his formula is followed. He chose David Gordon Green to direct, which at first glance seems like a strange choice considering that although Green is an accomplished independent director he has never even done a big budget movie like this, let alone a comedy. Instead, Green is best known for slice of life dramas like George Washington and Snow Angels which are appreciated in small circles but never attracted a wide audience like Pineapple Express is expected to do. What attracted Apatow to Green is his approach to directing. In order to achieve his signature "real life" feel, Green always allowed his actors to go off script and bring their personal experiences and issues to the part, thus allowing the actor to play themselves instead of a scripted character. Apatow felt that kind of approach is exactly what he wanted for his movies.
The next phase of the formula was getting the right people to make the movie funny, which is pretty easy considering Apatow's stable of comedic stars. He first cast Seth Rogen as Saul and James Franco as Dale. Franco has been doing dramas and action movies his entire career, but has always been itching to do an action comedy. Apatow wanted to start him out small by casting him as the more straight edged character of Dale while most of the jokes were going to come from Saul. However, once they saw how funny Franco was, Rogen and Franco switched parts. Once Apatow had his heroes, he needed equally funny villains. He cast Gary Cole as the drug kingpin, Ted. Cole has done lots of movies and TV shows but he is probably best known for being Bill Lumbergh in Office Space and if Ted Jones is anything like Lumbergh then it should be extremely funny. Then Rosie Perez was picked to be the corrupt cop. Perez is not as popular as she once was, but she is still good for small parts like these. Finally Apatow gave out all the small parts to his stable of actors. He gave Bill Hader the part of Private Miller. The last time we saw Hader in an Apatow joint he stole the show as Officer Slater in Superbad. The part of Private Miller is even smaller; he will only appear in the opening sequence as an army lab rat for a marijuana test, but I am sure his small time on screen will still be hilarious. Another longtime Apatow collaborator is Craig Robinson as Matheson. Robinson is best known as Darryl on The Office, but he also had large parts in Knocked Up and Walk Hard. Finally, no Apatow movie would be complete without some eye candy. That honor belongs to Amber Heard who takes the part of Dale's girlfriend. Her character is just there to give this movie a little bit of a love story which it probably really does not need. Fortunately, she has very few lines and is very, very attractive. She will be pleasant to the eye, but not take too much away from the story which is always a win-win.In Conclusion:
On the surface this may seem like a standard stoner comedy meant to appeal only to smokers, but that is not completely true. The movie is loaded with humor and action that will appeal to the non-drug using comedy fan. There is also plenty of that Apatow heart and depth; it is really a story about friendship and growing up. It is like Superbad for a slightly older, post college audience. That combination of comedy, action and heart should be enough to make this film the funniest and highest grossing comedy of 2008, giving Apatow and his team of misfits another huge success while elevating Green from small time director to mainstream Hollywood stud.Similar Titles: Superbad
, Half Baked
, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle