Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sorry, bud

Obviously, I was pretty excited to see Pineapple Express.

And, truthfully, even though this doesn't diminish the great Seth Rogen in my eyes, Pineapple Express is (you'll pardon the expression) a fairly half-baked effort.

I did laugh a number of times. And James Franco gave a really endearing performance as a gentle fool/pot dealer.

And when Rogen and Franco are simply sitting around the apartment, gabbing, the movie is hilarious. One of Rogen's real talents is the way he turns a phrase; the way his mind wanders into the oddest places. And -- wouldn't you know it! -- he has a great partner in Franco. When they talk about some super-duper-mind-blowing-hair-curling grass (the eponymous Pineapple Express) Franco says that smoking it is a little like "killing a unicorn."

Who comes up with such a formulation? (There's a kind of genius to it!)

The problem comes when the filmmakers try to flip a stoner comedy into a stoner/action movie. (Which, I'm sure, had to be their pitch before the execs.)

About a third of the way in, the movie becomes over-plotted and really tiresome. Characters sort of just vanish and plot lines go astray. (What Rosie Perez is doing in this movie, I have no idea.)

One of the reasons why Knocked Up was such a great movie, in my mind, was because it didn't try to do too much. It started out with a very basic premise, and let itself unfold. It sparkled through the force of the personalities on screen. (Not just Rogen, but Paul Rudd, the slobby roommates and especially Katherine Heigl.)

And this isn't to say Pineapple Express is a disaster; it isn't. But it isn't Knocked Up, either.