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What a drag

Pineapple Express
15, Nationwide 

10 September 2008

12:00 AM

10 September 2008

12:00 AM

Pineapple Express
15, Nationwide 

Pineapple Express is a ‘stoner’ comedy from the seemingly inexhaustible, super-producer Judd Apatow and, in its defence, probably wasn’t made with a middle-aged housewife such as myself in mind. As it is, I’ve only ever done pot once and did not like it (my knees went). Apatow was, of course, also behind the huge hits Superbad and Knocked Up, neither of which I have seen — too busy lining drawers with lavender paper; that sort of thing — although I did recently rent Knocked Up on DVD for my teenage son when my ten-year-old niece happened to be staying. Alas, I’m afraid I had no idea how unsuitable it was until, midway through the film, my niece sought me out to ask: ‘Deb, what’s an orgasm?’ Naturally, I sat her down and very calmly said: ‘I know! Let’s play cards!’ I take my materteral duties very seriously, so after cards it was Monopoly, and then bed. Hell, I’m only the aunt in all this; what are the parents for?

Anyway, Pineapple Express, which is basically about two pot-head losers on the run from the mob. And laugh, my dears? I’m sure that if I’d started I’d never have stopped, but as I never started it was hardly an issue. This is a baggy, pointless, tiresome film, which is also messy, puerile, cack-handedly gruesome and plain unfunny. Still, not a complete waste of time as I did manage, at least, to plan a week’s worth of family suppers during the entirely predictable, tediously protracted shoot-out at the end. This, I’m afraid, is what happens to middle-aged housewives when they get bored at the movies. I also did an entire Waitrose shop in my head, and thought some more about the replacement vacuum cleaner we so need (Miele, I’m now thinking, rather than Dyson).


It is scripted by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, who starred in both Superbad and Knocked Up — he gives good chubby schlub, I would say — and stars in this as chubby schlub Dale, a process server who is almost perpetually stoned and buys his weed from Saul (James Franco), who has just come into possession of a rare new strain called Pineapple Express. According to Dale, once he’s put his nose into the bag, Pineapple Express is so good it smells of ‘God’s vagina’. I do not know how he would know this, as the scent of God’s vagina is not mentioned in the Bible, as far as I know. On the other hand, perhaps it is and it’s just that my aunt never told me. I did play a lot of Monopoly with my aunt.

The first ten minutes are okay, and even quite amiable really, as Dale (who sweats a lot) and Saul (childlike and addled) shoot the breeze in their dopey way, but ten minutes is enough with anyone who is stoned when you aren’t and this has another 140 minutes to go. The film makers try to get round this by turning it into an action caper — a caper that kicks off when Dale, parked outside the home of drugs baron Ted Jones (Gary Cole), witnesses him murdering someone inside. Ted lives in an entirely glass house and if there is one thing I took away from this movie it is this: those who live in glass houses shouldn’t shoot people there. Take them out back, at least.

So now Dale and Saul, who are already starting to get annoying — stop sweating, Dale!; grow up, Saul! — are on the run, which basically involves lots of rather conventional chase sequences with pauses for spliffs, the inevitable male bonding and some pretty nasty bloody stuff with ears being half blown off and stomachs being shot out. (That Quentin Tarantino influence; it gets everywhere. It’ll get into my carpets next and then what am I going to do? I’m not sure my Vanish will be up to it.) Aside from not being very funny — actually, there is one funny moment, but as it’s in the trailer you could just settle for that — nothing adds up. There are plot holes you could drop entire universes though. There may even be pot holes, which are stoned plot holes that make no more sense and will keep giggling at you. And it just has no sense of purpose. There is a sub-plot to do with Dale’s girlfriend, a high school student, that goes absolutely nowhere for no reason whatsoever and isn’t interesting for a nanosecond.

In short, I’d forget Pineapple Express, if I were you. On the other hand, it could be that it’s the wittiest, cleverest, most amusing film ever, and I’m just too stuffy to get it, but I don’t think so. As it is, I only spent all this morning further researching vacuum cleaners online and if I’d been truly stuffy, I’d have spent all day, wouldn’t I? (I’m leaning more towards Dyson now.)


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