Plot: What’s it about?
I was watching a comedian on Comedy Central by the name of Daniel Tosh and he said one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard: “I think we should legalize marijuana…just so every pothead out there will have nothing left to bitch about.” And when you think about it, it’s true. There’s no denying that marijuana is at the very heart of Pineapple Express as Seth Rogen’s character lights up at least a dozen times a day. But before I delve into the plot details, I will say a few words about Mr. Rogen. I like the guy, I really do. I feel he had a great supporting role in The 40 Year-Old Virgin and his proving ground was Knocked Up. I recently watched Zack and Miri make a Porno and thought he was great in that. Now to his discredit I’ll say that he seems to play the exact same character in every single movie. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, as quite a few actors have made a very good living playing the same part over and over. Rogen is talented, though, and even produced and co-wrote Pineapple Express so here’s hoping that we’ll see a little more diversity out of him in the future.
Rogen plays Dale Denton, a process server (someone who tracks people down and gives them papers to appear in court) who’s perpetually high and takes a weird kind of pleasure in his job. He’s dating a girl in high school, which isn’t really explored too much in the film and lives for, well, nothing. On the job, he witnesses a murder by a rouge police officer (my least favorite actress in the world…Rosie Perez) and local drug lord, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Dale quickly hurries back to his dealer Saul (James Franco) because the pot he was smoking was left at the scene of the crime. No big deal, right? Well, the pot is so rare that only one dealer has it and Dale feels in his paranoia that Ted will find and therefore kill him. Dale’s right. The rest of the film is more of a buddy film with Saul and Dale trying to elude the drug dealers even hooking up with Saul’s dealer, Red (Danny McBride). There’s also a sub plot about Ted and the Asians being at war for the number one drug dealer in the city, but it takes a back seat to the comedy going on between Saul and Dale.
Pineapple Express is a movie I was looking forward to just because I tend to enjoy Seth Rogen’s movies. Having seen it, I did enjoy it but it’s certainly up there with his better films. The real scene-stealer is James Franco who seems to have nailed the slacker/pothead/drug dealer part to a tee. There’s no denying the chemistry between Rogen and Franco and they do maximize it as much as they can. I suppose my main problem with the film is that it couldn’t really decide what it wanted to be. On the surface it’s a comedy, but there’s a lot of action/adventure and violence thrown in for good measure. There’s a character shot in the stomach at least five times, yet never dies. Then again, maybe this movie was made more for people under the influence. Nevertheless, it’s got some great moments and the trio of Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride do make it worth at least one viewing.
Video: How does it look?
Time flies, man! It’s hard to believe, but this movie is nearing its tenth anniversary! Wow. Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I’ve watched this and I remember getting the Blu-ray when it first came out. Well now we’ve got a new format and, presumably, the image will look that much better. The question is – does it? In a word…yes. The Ultra HD/4K (I’ll use those terms interchangeably) does improve upon the quality of the Blu-ray, which is also included. Of note, the Blu-ray includes the extended cut of the film, while the 4K version is the theatrical cut. I have no idea why they did that, but it is what it is. Doing a comparison between the two, I’d say that a few things struck me right off the bat. First off, the detail is a bit more improved on the 4K version. Things just seem a little sharper and in focus. Imagine like taking a picture, but the focus point is about an inch or so from where you want it. The image still looks good, but it just lacks that “locked in” focus that really sets it apart. The second thing is the color. 4K’s are known (and touted) to have increased color depth and High Dynamic Range (HDR) and this movie epitomizes that. While it’s not a night and day difference, I did find it noticeable when looking at the two. The film itself has a lot of natural tones to it, it’s not really extreme in any one way, so a lot of natural-looking, earthy tones are prevalent. Does the 4K version mark an improvement over the Blu-ray? You bet. Is it worth you buying this movie all over again to see it? That’s up to you.
Audio: How does it sound?
New to this 4K version is the addition of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack and for those not so equipped is the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack found on the original Blu-ray. Suffice it to say, there’s not a lot going on, dynamically-speaking, as most of the action is the constant dialogue between Rogen and Franco. If these guys got paid by the word, they’d be billionaires. There are some moments with gunfire, a bomb goes off and there are a few car chase scenes and all of that sounds as we’d expect. Then again this is, by and large, a comedy and comedies aren’t really known for their sound. It’s a good effort, but nothing that stands out as being truly memorable. As much as I did enjoy the inclusion of the new Atmos mix, I feel this might have been a wasted effort here as there is some noticeable differences, but maybe the target audience for this film might not care?
Supplements: What are the extras?
With the inclusion of the Blu-ray as the second disc, the supplements have remain unchanged there. Of note, the audio commentary is on the Ultra HD/4K version, though the remainder of the supplements are on the Blu-ray. There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started.
- Audio Commentary – This multi-person track features Director David Gordon Green as well as actor/writer Seth Rogen, producer Judd Apatow and actors Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Ed Begley Jr., and Rosie Perez. Admittedly this is actually a very good track, crowded as it might seem. There’s a lot of information about the shoot, some technical jargon and the group seems fairly laid back. It would have been nice to have Franco included, but alas…
- Deleted Scenes – Three total, though none really added much to the final product (pardon the pun).
- Extended And Alternate Scenes – Again, none really added that much more to the film. I’d have liked to see a few of these included, but it’s nice to have them nonetheless.
- The Making of Pineapple Express – This is a little more inclusive than your standard “Making of…” feature and Rogen leading the way, it seemed like a fun time on set.
- The Action of Pineapple Express – As the title dictates, this takes a look at some of the non-couch sitting moments in the film.
- Phone Booth – Judd Apatow’s voice fills in for Amber Heard (prior to her casting in the movie). Next.
- Gag Reel – Shenanigans on the set.
- Line-O-Rama – A staple of Sony (and Universal) titles, this is essentially different takes on the same scene/lines.
- Direct-O-Rama – Director David Gordon Green directs the actors…
- Item 9 – Somewhat of a “deleted scene” from the opening where the test subjects underwent some military experimentation. It’s black and white if that matters.
- Saul’s Apartment – Better Call Saul! Nope, wrong reference. Still, a look at the place where everyone knows your name.
- Raw Footage – Basically more deleted scenes, but oddly not included in the deleted scene section. WTF?
- Begley’s Best – Ed Begley Jr.’s cleaning products are featured. Why? I have no idea.
- Red And Jessica’s Guide To Marriage – Red and his wife, Jessica, share their marital secrets.
- Injury Report – A look at some of the real-life injuries on set while shooting the film.
- Stuntmaster Ken – Yes, a “oh, he WAS in it!” moment with a then relatively unknown Ken Jeong.
- Table Read 3/4/06 – Pretty much just that.
- Rehearsal Footage 3/06/07 – And a year later – more of the same.
- Comic-Con Panel – A majority of the cast at Comic-Con promoting the film (this is now very commonplace).
- Red Band Trailer – The red band trailers feature more graphic violence and explicit language.
- Previews – Additional Sony titles: Step Brothers, Superbad, The Wackness, and Resident Evil: Degeneration.
The Bottom Line
This is one of the better collaborations between Franco and Rogen, though there haven’t been too many (This is The End does come to mind as well). In the realm of “stoner” comedies, this stands out and I’ll pretty much see anything with Danny McBride in it. This seems like a rather odd choice as an early UltraHD offering, but for those who want it – it’s there. The image sports a bit of a sleeker look and the audio is improved, though it’s hardly noticeable. There are no new extras, but there were hours’ worth included to begin with.