The set-up is easy-bake. Rogen, playing a weed-loving process server named Dale Denton, stops over at his dealer’s apartment to grab some ganja. His dealer, Saul Silver (the priceless James Franco, in a role that if there was a God, would nab him a supporting actor nomination), has the best stuff in town: Pineapple Express. After getting a new stash, Dale heads over to serve someone with their papers, only this someone, happens to be the city’s main importer of the fabulous mary-jane. What Dale also doesn’t expect to see is this guy, Ted Jones (a funny as always Gary Cole), shoot a rival in the back of the head in the living room of his glass-walled house. Fleeing the scene, but not before throwing his roach of Pineapple Express out the window, Dale high-tails it back to Saul’s to tell him what he just saw. Ted see’s Dale trying to escape, heads out to the street, sniffs the roach, and because Saul is the only one that he’s hooked up with the Pineapple, he knows immediately where to start looking. The film speeds along with Dale and Saul on the run from Ted and his goons, getting stoned every chance they get, and finally culminating in a wonderfully graphic shoot-out that would make Woo and Michael Bay blush.
What’s so fun and unique about PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is the blending of genres. The first portion of the film is an easy-going stoner comedy, with Franco’s Saul tossing out one incredible one-liner after another. Franco seems baked in this film, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was. Rogen, who can do no wrong at this point, plays the guy we’ve come to love from films such as KNOCKED UP and THE FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is, at its heart, a bromance of a film; Dale and Saul love each other, and like any lovers, they have some fun, they bicker, and then they get back together. Whether it’s the two of them blowing clouds of smoke onto unsuspecting caterpillars or wielding double shotguns and blowing people away, they are a duo that can’t be separated. A great supporting cast is also along for the ride, including Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Rosie Perez, Nora Dunn, Ed Begley Jr., and the sexy Amber Heard. And when the action-fireworks take place during the film’s final and extremely bloody act, you’re all the more invested in the characters because of the time spent with them watching their characters evolve. I am not saying that PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is high art, or even low art for that matter. It has a crude, jocular style at times, and Green, while no slouch, isn’t a shooter with a Tony Scott eye quite yet. But what he does is meld together two very different types of movies into one genuinely entertaining whole. With this film and SNOW ANGELS, which was released in early 2008, there’s a chance that Green will make two appearances on my Top 10 of the year list.