Pineapple Express

My Bromance
★★★★
☆☆
Released: 
2008
Director: 
David Gordon Green
Starring: 
Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez
The Setup: 
Two stoners get involved in this whole murder plot.
Discussion: 

This is one of those movies I started a review of but eventually deleted, having no real insight to offer on it, but then my friend told me that it's my duty to point out homo subtext in movies, and besides, reviews of movies in theaters draw more readers in than boring old movies on DVD. So, fine.

Seth Rogen, who stands a very good chance of luring me into a tempestuous affair before I run back to Aaron Eckhart, begging for forgiveness, plays Dale Denton, a process server who spends his days driving around, getting stoned, serving papers, and listening to talk radio. Can you imagine a comedy with a lead character who gets drunk and drives around? Anyway, Dale needs more bud and calls his dealer, Saul, who supplies him with the new brand, Pineapple Express, which is like "God's Vagina" and which only he has access to. Dale is about to split when Saul convinces him to stay for a bit, guilting him that no one wants to be friends with their dealer, they just do business and split. But after a while, split Dale does.

That night, Dale is parked outside a house where he sees a man get shot. Freaking, he throws his roach out the window, and takes off. The killer, Gary Cole as Ted, and his assistant, Rosie Perez as cop Carol, recognize the brand of weed—and you'll recall that only Saul has it. Dale runs to Saul's, they both panic, grab a huge bag of weed, and take off. They spend a funny panicked night in the woods, and wake sleeping in each other's arms. They then have to walk out of the woods, leading to the oft-noted scene of them playing leapfrog that is often mentioned in context of this film's [largely illusory] "indie sensibility." It's a bummer, because my notes were full of all the tiny homoerotic touches, like the way they sleep curled up together, but of course I threw those out when I decided not to finish the review.

Anyway, they arrive at the home of Red, played by suddenly-everywhere Danny McBride, who excels at playing obnoxiously ignorant putzes. Both my friend and I agreed that as lame as The Foot-Fist Way was, it clued us much more closely into McBride's brand of humor. Turns out Red is going to turn the duo in to the bumbling thugs that are after them, which results in a hilariously awkward fight all over the house. Blah, blah, the whole thing goes on with the guys constantly on the run in various locations and navigating several different situations.

Along the way they go over to the house of Dale's high school girlfriend [she's a safe 18], where the group has to take refuge as the thugs invade and instigate a shootout. I thought this whole scene with the disapproving parents, was hilarious and wouldn't have minded if the whole family was involved for much longer than they were. They realize that they have no money and sell drugs to young kids! Toward the end, Dale refuses to smoke any more and says "have you noticed we're not real productive when we're stoned?" which is the one "message" moment of this movie, and I definitely appreciate that they left it at that.

Throughout Dale and Saul have been in a blissful "romantic friendship" [as they say in Brideshead Revisited], very much along the lines of the adolescent homoerotic love of Superbad [written by the same people], but toward the end they have what is essence a lover's quarrel and split. During this time comes one of the movie's funniest moments, in which Dale and his girlfriend are crying as they reconcile on the phone, but her suggestion of marriage makes him cry with the heebies. The two friends reconcile when one comes to rescue the other, and this is enacted through a Blades of Glory-style physical comedy piece that looks as though they are having lusty anal sex. Once again, like in Superbad, the emotional climax of the movie is the character's declarations of love for one another. All of this is accompanied throughout by the oft-repeated line "Bros before hos," meaning that you should put your male friends before relationships with women, and I understand how that with into the whole homoerotic vibe here, but it was repeated to the point where I found it to become a little offensive. I obviously have no problem with romantic friendships between people of the same sex, but I find it unfortunate that it is so often accompanied by denigration of the opposite sex. Which is not to mention the fact that not all women are "hos." Once or twice is one thing, but it was repeated so often here it kind of becomes a theme of the movie, which is unfortunate. Regardless, I suppose it's good that straight guys are coming to a place where they can recognize a certain homoeroticism to their friendships without worrying that it automatically makes them gay. Anyway, there is a bombastic climax that parodies action movies, accompanied by overblown comedy gore, and eventually it's all over.

It was all quite funny, but once it's over it kind of fades away in one's mind and ultimately kind of ends up being a B+. Good, but unmemorable. This was directed by David Gordon Green, indie darling who rose to prominence with George Washington, released a few less well-received movies, and now jumps to the mainstream here. His name has led to much discussion of the "indie sensibility" he brings to this film, which to me is just so much hot air and wishful thinking. Everyone is good, Rogen we're familiar with, McBride is wonderful and hilarious, but the real shock is James Franco, returning to comedy. I never saw him on Freaks and Geeks, but he's wonderful here, charming, natural and funny—and really the only time he has seemed like an actual human being.

Anyway, it's cool, it's funny, it's got homo not-exactly-sub subtext, and it all fades away a few hours after it's over. To me, Superbad is the much better, sweeter, more focused and more affecting of the two, but this one'll kill a few hours in a pleasant fashion.

Should you watch it: 

Sure, although if you haven't seen Superbad, give that one priority.